– Saint Albans, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

The Twofers; or Double Doublets

Aftershocks in Christchurch on Monday 13 June 2011 were a ripping of the wound. Yes, there had been plenty of aftershocks but this was bigger, and it also broke a kind of detente. Until then, we had the tacit understanding that while an aftershock was a bastard, there wouldn’t be one of a similar size straight away. We were wrong, and June saw the first of our doublet earthquakes.

I was working at home, and had been to Merivale and grabbed a vege pie and coffee from the Edgeware BP. Was literally in the doorway of the house when the quake hit. So held on to the doorway. I visited a neighbour, and met another in the driveway looking at liquefaction. I was starting to reset up my laptop when number two hit. It was worse, and stuff fell down all over the house. Much more liquefaction bubbled up. My family was away in Redwood. Was visited a friend down the road after #1; I visited him after #2 by which time we were both feeling pretty damn dark.

We had a bumpy night all in the bed, and woke up to hear the landlord out digging the liquefaction. I went to help, all dressed in black and petticoat. That was hard yakka but took me out of myself, was feeling down to it.

The next day, we packed up the car to get out of town for a bit. Stayed the night at Cheviot, had fish and chips and world-famous potato cakes. In the morning we stopped up the hill at St John’s Church. It had beautiful William Morris designed stained glass. It looked all locked up but we found a side door and went in for a look. The play of dark and colour was breathtaking. I felt shellshocked and the beauty was ecstatic.

We drove up to Picton with many stops on the way. While there we ate and slept well, went for walks, shopped at St Vinnies. We visited my rellies at the Picton Cemetery. I had a laptop with me, and worked either at the library or at home. We rode the miniature trains, played at parks, went on walks, and made friends with Downunder Books. “What’s that?” “A book” went numerous kid conversations.

23 December 2011

I had the day off and went to The Palms to do a spot of Christmas shopping. Had bought a little pair of boots at Pumpkin Patch for Bubbles, and was trying on a dress in City Chic. Shake, shake, lights out. I scrambled to get dressed and out. The staff were incredibly kind and calm, directed us to the exit. Everyone behaved well, and in an orderly way we left the building, outside into the sun. The streets were busy with people, many couldn’t get their cars – including a friend who I discovered later was also in The Palms. I walked home, chatting to people on the way, trying to text family. One woman and her daughter walking with me had been at the movies for the quake.

I got home and our new neighbours’ daughter was at our place. They were shifting in and everything in their old place had fallen over as the cupboards were open for moving. We got to know each other, and were in their empty house for the next shake. The wee girl was playing inside, and we scooped her in our arms to hold on to door frame.

It turns out being in an empty house is one of the less unpleasant places to be for a shake – nothing falling over or down.

And it is a great way to become quickly acquainted with new neighbours.

http://episodictable.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/the-twofers-or-double-doublets/

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