Something I hadn't anticipated was the sheer delight in walking the streets of the inner city - Nelson looking particularly attractive with its autumn-tinted trees, hanging baskets, historic buildings, cafes spilling onto the footpaths and enticing shops. I realised (despite my sojourn last year in Holland and the UK) just how much I have missed hanging out in the Christchurch CBD - always my favourite go-to place for retail therapy since teenage years.
Yesterday I took a long-promised walk on the 'wild-side', around the ever-diminishing inner-city cordon. The walk took me up Manchester St, along Gloucester, back round Oxford Tce and down Tuam, to complete the square. What did I see and feel? Did anything surprise or shock me?
My reaction remains one of disbelief. It still seems unreal. This puzzles me - when the evidence of the destruction wrought by quakes and subsequent demolition is so tangible. It feels too big to contemplate, too impossible to have happened in our city. Mostly I remain relatively detached and rather numb. I wonder if others feel this way...
I took photos - even although photo-taking in regard to the quakes has always felt like a subversive activity. Images of the damaged city abound but there is a need to 'personalise' the experience by selecting one's own points of reference.
Here are some pictures that resonate...
|A favourite eating place for Claire and me - still standing|
|Inside the rose window, Holy Trinity Church|
|Perhaps the only view that shocked me. The Theatre Royal, facade propped up, dome protected and in-between - nothing.|
|Great example of the fantastic installations that have popped up around the city. Absent Theatre Royal in background.|
|When all around is destroyed....|
|My favourite. Outside a cordon checkpoint at the entrance to the Square.|
|Images of the cathedral have become cliched - so I focused on the (still intact) roof.|
|Always the little reminders of hope and support.|