Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Before and After - the dining area

I don't know why I didn't post this much much earlier. I think it is because it has taken ages to get an even half decent photo of this space - it is so dark for a large part of the year, which makes photography difficult. Yet we spend so much time here.

It's the dining are a couple of before photos (nb for those of you that haven't been with us from the beginning - all of the 'before' photos were taken when the house was tenanted. This is not our furniture, nor our dodgy wall decorations, nor our messy bookshelves).

Needless to say, regardless of the general filth which is impossible to appreciate from these photos, the place looked fairly cluttered and generally icky. After we moved in, the place looked like this:

..which doesn't seem too bad until you see that the walls aren't white, they're just filthy's the white paint going on:

Then, about five months later:

I know this photo isn't exactly pimping, but it really is very hard. I think Matt is going to take a few really good shots of all of the interior at some point, but this will have to do until then.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

New Sewer! - postscript

I forgot to mention the casualties which occurred on Saturday - there were two.

Firstly, the power cable supplying our garage got sliced through by a shovel. Luckily no-one got electrocuted. I have an electrician coming tomorrow to fix it.

And secondly, my father got smacked in the head with a long metal crowbar and was apparently laid out for a while. There was some blood, but he continued working without complaint. I forgot to take a photo.

In light this and the chainsaw incident, not to mention the fact that he was wielding the shovel mentioned above, I feel we will have to increase supervision when dad is helping out.

New Sewer!

Not sure if that title really deserves an exclamation mark, but hey...

A few weeks back Matt and our dads (his and mine) started digging up the old sewer pipes in preparation for replacement.

My husband, the working man.

Boo, the supervisory dog.

Then last Saturday the Pooman came up (seriously, that's what his company is called) to lay the drains. We made a deal that we would do all the digging and contribute to the hard labour in order to save us time. They would do the tricky stuff themselves like jack-hammering the pesky rock that got in our way and laying the pipes.

For half a day there were old men, young men and shirtless men hard at work outside (ladies remained indoors out of the heat and noise...of course).

Burrowes showed up. And ate some cake.

Then somehow got roped in to being chief concrete layer...

Six hot, sweaty hours later, we had a brand new sewer!

Ta da! Now we just have to cover it up again..

(nb, thank you to everyone who came up, including my mum, Alistair and the Browns...sorry I didn't get any photographic evidence of you being there, we couldn't have done it without you).

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

A bit more on the topic....

There was an interview with Sir Miles Warren (who designed our little house) and Maurice Mahoney on National Radio last week - chatting about the case you missed it, you can listen to it here.

My favourite part? That Maurice Mahoney's wife took him to the Crowne Plaza to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversay.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Okay, the earthquake debrief.

I just heard on the news that there have been over 80 aftershocks since Friday night, and I am still a bit nervous that there is going to be another big one. Hopefully this debrief isn't premature!

Anyway, we were awake when the earthquake happened - the kids who live at the top of our cliff were having a bit of a party and we were on hold to the council, calling noise control (because we are old fuddy duddies with no sense of fun anymore). The baby had just woken up and we were debating whether to go in and get him up or just see if he would go back to sleep. Then it started. A rattle then a roar and it was all on. For a split second I thought it was our cliff was falling down, but then I realised it was more than that. I jumped out of bed and looked out the window - we could see the whole of Christchurch and although it's hard to describe, it was all shaking, the lights all jiggling around while the roar continued. A bright green flash of light tore across the horizon - I think this was a substation shorting out.

During the actual quake, Matt was surprisingly more panicked than me, he hasn't ever been in one and didn't have the practice drills at school which we New Zealanders are so familiar with. In my head I kept thinking we just needed to get under a doorway, so I grabbed Matt and we stood in our bedroom door for a bit before I remembered the baby....! I rushed in, switched on the light (there was still power) and grabbed him - with the light on the severity became obvious - his ikea lamp shade was swinging wildly and smacking against the roof - hard to believe when I look at it now...

Then the power went out and we were in the dark, in Clem's doorway, holding each other tight (and Clem - who had crapped his pants, not due to the quake, but it made the whole huddle thing a bit more unpleasant than necessary) while we listened to the whole city shake and things falling over and the sound of glass breaking - the sound was a total cliche - a jumbo jet flying low overhead, a train tearing through the house, it was the combined noise of the earth groaning and moving and the whole of Christchurch's houses creaking and breaking. Incredible.

It was only later, that I realised we had picked the worst doorway in the house to stand under...

That's right - a lovely pane of 40 year old glass up above just waiting to shatter and fall on us!

The aftershocks started straight away, we clambered downstairs, found a torch and our phones and tried to get some information online (although we had no power Matt's iPhone could still get the world wide web - yay technology!)...Twitter was the first place to show some photos and have information.

We sat trembling in the dark down by the study for about 45 minutes before setting up sleeping spots on the floor of the living room. I didn't even try to sleep but the boys had a bit of a nap. After we realised that we had no water, we packed up and moved over to my parent's place for the next 24 hours.

Driving around the city and seeing pictures online really illustrated what a solid bunker our house is. The only damage I can find is a dent in the baby's room where I swung the door open and the doorknob smacked into the wall, and the fence outside has a bigger crack than it used to:

As we drove across town, we stopped in at Matt's work (we were lucky to get in there before the police had cordoned off the city - his office seemed generally fine (another Warren & Mahoney building), but apparently there were a few broken bottles of wine on the concrete floor), and we checked out all the other W & M hosues we passed on the way - all seemed fine, despite being surrounded by houses with crumbled chimneys and broken fences.

My parents' house was unscathed, but the neighbour's chimney landed in their courtyard:

Now I am back home, pretty anxious about the aftershocks, if another big one hits I think I'm going to aim for the fireplace this time, but I really hope I never have to go through that again!

As an aside, we have had to postpone the work on our drains, as unsurprisingly the drain people are a bit tied up with the general destruction across the city!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Prominent architect nearly trips over grandfather clock

"Renowned New Zealand architect Sir Miles Warren was yesterday wondering if he could ever restore his beloved Ohinetahi Homestead to its pre-earthquake conditions.

The quake collapsed four upper gables and sent stones crashing on to the building.

"It was such a tremendous noise" Sir Miles said, as he stepped over the grandfather clock that nearly tripped him up earlier in the morning.

The important seaward facing part of the homestead was badly fractured and walls and pillars in the famous garden were toppled."


Saturday, 4 September 2010


In case you haven't heard, we had an almightly earthquake at 4.30 this morning. Our little house stood up well, and surprisingly so did the cliff (well it was still there when we evacuated anyway - we have no power and water).

We did a quick tour of some other Warren & Mahoney houses on the way across town and all seem to be intact. Thanks Sir Miles.
That's the Repetory Theatre above, poor old thing.