Saturday, 28 August 2010

On a different note..

The whole "our cliff is about to fall down" thing is getting so last week. Shamus came back, took a photo and left again. No further movement.

Anyway, back to the drains - you may recall that a while back (over six months now! Jee-whizz!) we started clearing a path to dig up the old drains and replace them. Well, Matt started digging out there and we didn't find what we were expecting. Darren (the drain guy) told us that we needed to relay the bulk of the pipes as they were clay, but when Matt dug down, we found a slab of concrete and what appears to be PVC piping underneath. Hmm. Odd.

He dug in multiple places along the drain line and for the most part it was the same story aside from about five metres close to the house which looks like the original clay pipes. So on Monday I'm gonna give Dazza a call and try to work out what's going on, but we are quietly hoping that we may not have such a massive job ahead after all.

And that means we just might be able to get stuck in to sorting out the bathroom a little sooner. But let's not get ahead of ourselves now...

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Come back Shamus!

I was out bringing the washing in when I looked up to the corner of our cliff and saw this.... it's kind of a hard to see but it's a sort of cave going into the bank. It must have appeared in the last day or so, but basically now the land above it is sitting on a shelf, and if someone at the top of the cliff went for a wander out to their fence then they would probably fall downwards. Very quickly.

Um, Shamus? Can you come back please....?

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Process begins...

WARNING: The following post is very long and wordy, and the only photo is this one above which I explain at the end, so if you don't like reading or are only interested in photos then jump to the bottom!

Wow, so the whole landslide thing has turned into a bit of a drawn out process. I was initially a little apprehensive about the whole cliff (and the house at the top of it) falling down, so called the council in the first instance. A nice man named Brian came and looked at the cliff and said "hmm, it's certainly a slip" and "hmm, unfortunately it's not our department" and "well, at least it's not as bad as the house two doors up - their cliff is steeper, and closer to their house" and with a final "well, I'm sympathetic, but..." he left.

So I called our insurance company who said "Landslide? We don't do landslides, you need to talk to the Earthquake Commission".

So... I phoned the Earthquake Commission who said they would send an assessor out to have a look-see.

Several days later Paul came round. "Hmm," he said. He took some photos. He explained The Process - and here I was thinking I was nearing the end of the process... oh no, The Process starts with Paul. Paul comes to say "yes, there's a landslide" (just in case we were telling porkies). Then he sends an engineer (a lovely chap named Shamus - more of him later) to assess how bad the landslide is, and whether it is going to get much worse anytime soon. Then a valuer comes round to assess the value of our land that has been affected by the slip. Then an estimator comes to estimate the cost of cleaning up the damage from the slip. Then we get paid the lesser of those two - either the value of land we have lost, or the cost of clearing up. Nobody actually does anything, we might just get a bit of money to put towards hauling wet dirt away. Or some compensation for the land that we can't use anymore cos there's wet dirt sitting on it. Or we can take that little bit of money and spend it on nappies, or new shoes, or expensive cheese - our choice.

Pretty long process eh? The weirdest part is that at this point nobody really cares about stopping the rest of the cliff falling down which was obviously my main concern. I quizzed the insurance company and they assured me that we will be covered for clean up if the whole cliff falls and buries our house. We will also be covered to pay for damage to (and clean up of) the house at the top of the cliff if it falls on us. But as for stopping it happening in the first place? Not interested.

So back to Shamus, who visited yesterday. He wore gumboots and brought a measuring tape, so I instantly took him more seriously than the others. I forgot to mention that by this stage we had now had at least two more similar sized slips in different positions to the others. Shamus took some more photos. He made the astute observation that we can't really tell how bad it might get without having a look from the top, so after he left he was going to go and meet the peeps up there and have a bit of a look from above. Anyway, he explained a bit more about The Process with regards to stopping the rest of the cliff falling down. If, and that's a big if, he reckons the cliff is going to completely fall down in the next twelve months, then we might get some help with prevention - some sort of retaining structure. Otherwise, we're just going to maybe get a little bit of money to spend on nappies, shoes or expensive cheese...

Obviously if we want to build said retaining structure at our own expense that would be hunky-dorey, but to be honest, we reckon our little house isn't going anyway even if a whole cliff and another house falls on top of it, so I don't think we're going to do that. We might move Boo's kennel from the bottom of the cliff. And our kid may be banned from playing out there...

Anyway, so now I'm waiting for Shamus's report, then the assessor, then the estimator .... then some hopefully we can go cheese shopping.

(The pic at the top is of some sorry looking bulbs that have poked up out of the bog of clay sitting on the lawn following recent rainy events).

Monday, 9 August 2010

Ah, yeah, so...

It rained cats and dogs last night, and all day yesterday, and for a large chunk of last week. Last night as we were sitting listening to the rain, there was some sort of sound outside..Boo got up and barked and growled - I let her outside to go find the murderous intruder she could no doubt hear, but she simply growled into the darkness, sniffed around the back of the house and wanted back in out of the rain. We thought nothing more.

Then this morning as I was making my cup of tea, I raised my eyes to look out our kitchen window and noticed this:

That is an almighty slip, coming down the cliff/bank which sits at the back of our property. We figure that is what Boo heard last night. There have been little slips and slides up there since we moved in, but they are too small to photograph well, and we figured that things had been okay with that cliff for the past 40 years, so it would probably be okay for another 40...

Of course, another way of looking at it is - things have been okay for the past 40 years, so it is probably due to totally collapse any day now.