Monday, 8 July 2019

Chapter 157: homeless people

My daughter Catherine: Why don’t you write about something important? Like the homeless people?

Grandfather Alan: I don’t know any homeless people.

Catherine: There’s a lot. They are everywhere. You just can’t see them.

 Alan: Who are these people?

Catherine: All sorts. Either their families don’t want them or they don’t want their family.
Alan: I still can’t see how I can write about the homeless. I am not homeless. I don’t know any homeless.  I don’t own any vacant property.  I don’t know why “they” are not providing accommodation for “them.”

When my grandkids grow up I want them to live in a compassionate society. A society which includes everybody. Irrespective of sexuality, race, ability, age, opportunities or health.  A society which looks after the people falling through the cracks. A society which houses the ones who can’t house themselves.

Well my grandkids are being sensitive and caring this morning. My grandkids are dancing around the loungeroom. They are playing together. They are laughing and chirping to each other. They are kicking their legs in time to music.  They are seeing who can kick the highest.  They are proud the music is a new song I have never heard of.

They then eat a healthy breakfast. They eat everything except the sultanas. They are wearing clean, neat school uniforms. When they grow up I want them to live in a society where everybody is fit and healthy. Physically, socially and emotionally. Today they will go to an aftercare activity. An activity where they learn how to get on with others. A physical activity where they learn how to be physically fit and healthy.

Bruce is the first one to eat his breakfast. He looks around and says: “Hands up if you’ve finished your breakfast?”

When they grow up I also want them to live in a society which has the knowledge, skills and procedures for housing the unhoused.

They can learn some management or political skills at school or home or pick them up osmotically. They have an aunt on council so maybe they will learn something from her.  Not specific lessons but waiting in her office and eaves dropping on her meetings will help or listening to their aunt say, “I am not allowed to talk about that.”

I want my grandkids to live in a society which helps the ones falling through the cracks. But I don’t want them to fall. I want them to flourish.

I want them to get productive, constructive, enjoyable jobs. Jobs that follow from good reading, writing skills, good interpersonal skills, good social skills and from being mentally fit and healthy.
Today I can help them achieve all that. I talk about what is happening at school. About what is coming up. And this afternoon I will ask them about what they did at school. I will then get out some pencils, crayons and scrape paper. I love their drawings. I prove it by sticking their pictures on the fridge.

I want my grandkids to live in a society where everybody communicates well with everybody else. Where the technology helps people communicate with real live people. The people they can see, smell, and touch or hear.

Dr Goggle is hindering communication.  Dr Goggle has arrived and communities communicate less.  Before Dr Google came it was more common for people to offer a spare bed for a few nights to temporary homeless families, friends or workmates. Virtually everybody I know spent some time sleeping in a strange bed or waiting in the corridor outside the bathroom for the passing visitors to finish their business.  Those days have gone.

Perhaps if I speak to them. Make rules about when they can or can’t go on-line. Prod them to connect with the people around them. As my mind wanders they become over active and I immediately break my own rule and give them the little plastic I-pod babysitter. It keeps them quiet and occupied.

As the kids go off to school I realise I haven’t written about the housing crisis. Not the current one. As for the one in twenty years. I don’t know. All I know is my grandkids love grapes and hate sultanas.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Chapter 156 : cable car

Dear Grandkids,  

You ask me if I am in favour of a cable car. Well I will answer it like this:
I want you to live in a healthy and happy community with a stable environment and working in a job that gives you satisfaction. This is most likely to be Tasmania.

In the future there will be jobs in the primary sector. Jobs in agriculture, aquaculture, fishing or mining. There will also be jobs adding value or selling these primary products.  Such as jobs in vineyards, poppies or medicinal marijuana. It is unlikely you will finish up working in this area because there is nobody in our family who works in those areas.

There will be jobs in the manufacturing sector. They are decreasing at the moment but wind power may change the rules of the ball game. It is unlikely you will finish up working in manufacturing but it is possible.  Maybe your partner will. 
I know you expect a job using your superpowers but it is more likely you will finish up working in the service sector. It is likely you will finish up working in the health or education sectors or as general government workers.

It is also possible you may finish up working in the tourism sector.

Your job may be involved in where the tourists stay.  You may work at a large hotel or at an air B&B.  Either full time or part time job while studying.

You may find yourself feeding the tourists. Working at a café, restaurant or hotel. Either full time or part time while studying.

You may find yourself helping entertain the tourists. You may be involved in giving the tourists something to look at. You may be involved with a museum; involved with a cruise looking at our natural wonders; creating drawings, paintings, sculptures, or giving them something to listen to.

You may be involved with the tourists who would prefer to be more active.  You might find yourself leading or guiding bushwalkers, scuba divers, paragliders, surfers, fishers or cyclists. Most of these activities will be in natural areas or nature based activities.

The majority of these tourists will come here for experiences based on nature or natural beauty. These activities will not be completely natural or in unadulterated wilderness. 

Any activity you may be involved with will come with some environmental cost. It is up to us to manage the activity and mitigate the environmental cost and aim for a sustainable environment.
If you find yourself in tourism we don’t want tourism with an environmental cost. We want sustainable tourism resulting in Facebook posts.

I have seen the way you look after your backyard. You have to look after the environment of Tasmania the same way. The environment of Tasmania consists of more than your backyard.  You will need more than a doggie bag and popper scooper.  It consist of all the land, water and the air you can see. Your environment includes all the urban built up areas and the rural areas (settled or wilderness). The biggest threats to the environment are introduced plants and animals, loss of habitat, pollution and climate change. We want a healthy, stable, environment. We don’t want the environment to be unstable, gaining or losing species.

If you are involved with tourism it will probably be a more important part of the Tasmanian economy than at present.  Maybe with more tourists from Asia. Everybody in our economy depends on everybody else.  Nobody on our island is an island. If you work in the tourism sector you will depend on all the other sectors. And if you work in on a farm; at the RHH; work at EZ you will need people in the tourism sector.

If you are in tourism make sure everybody wins. That includes you.  If you work in tourism then I hope you have an enjoyable and satisfying job. I hope you help give the tourists a good experience. I hope you help give the tourists pleasurable activities that stimulate, challenge and rejuvenate tourists. 

Dear Grandkids maybe one day in the future you will re-read this.  You can then compare the prognostications with reality and if a cable car exists we can go for a ride in it.

Regards Grandpa Alan

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Chapter 155 : domestic violence

Somewhere in Hobart a couple is sitting down to eat dinner.
He plays with the hokkien noodles and says, “What do you call this?”

She raises her eyes, groans and says, “What’s your problem? Why are you always in a bad mood?”

He then says, “Well, what is it?”

She says, “I’m wasting my time cooking for you.”

This couple can now go in various directions.

They might have a few drinks then arrive at the domestic violence station. Which will be full of police, lawyers, politicians and media experts.

The police will arrest him, lock him up, fill out forms and charge him with domestic violence. The police would prefer to deal with burgs and drunk drivers. The police will get a statement from her and dream about burgs and drunk drivers.

The lawyers will huddle and talk amongst themselves; discuss where each person will live; decide where the children will live: divide the furniture, look at the photo albums, and decide who owns the pot plants and the pet dog. And then give them both a bill.

The politicians will talk about an epidemic of domestic violence and say, “I am passionate about domestic violence.”  Facebook will become active with posts from all sides.

Maybe the dining couple will not get off at the domestic violence station.  Maybe the meal will continue serenely.

After finishing the meal the male will say, “Sorry what I said before. Thank you for the food, thank you for all your work. Nice to try something different.  Can I help by doing the dishes?”

She will say, “I’m also sorry what I said. Can you suggest an improvement to the food? A way of making the dish even better. I love cooking but I also love eating. In the future I look forward to us both enjoying cooking and eating. I love cooking for you and I want you to get the same pleasure out of cooking for me. Suggest some guidelines so that we can both make this happen.”

How can the dining couple avoid violence? How can they be a non-violent couple? Well I have a few gratuitous suggestions.

The couple need to learn how to survive, benefit from and welcome disagreements. They can start by taking their headphones out of their ears, turning off their I-phone and turning off the blaring TV and listening to each other.

They then need to learn to not judge everything. Not every post or restaurant or cafe has to receive a like, comment or be shared with their Facebook friends. Not everything everybody sees has to be assessed.

They also need to learn that there are at least two people in any relationship.  That everybody in every relationship is responsible for the way it goes. If everybody puts in, then everybody wins. If everybody thinks about everybody else and everybody does what they can for others then they all win.

They also need to learn that everybody is different. Everybody has different experiences and different thoughts and these differences should be celebrated.

They also need to learn a relationship contains people who achieve things they couldn’t achieve by themselves. In a relationship people get the support and help of other people. At the same time everybody will have to help and support everybody else.  There is give and take. Everybody has rights and responsibilities. The more one gives the more they will receive.

Time for me to state what everybody knows. I have made every mistake possible but I identify more with the non-violent couple. I belong to the generation raised as Christians who then rejected organised religion. Our generation wants to keep the love, fellowship, caring and compassion of organised religions and throw out the racism, the sexism and the homophobia. 

We need to keep the god is love and add an addendum where everybody has equal opportunity and equal rights. Everybody includes all races, sexes, sexuality, abilities and nationality. And with no violence between anybody. Because violence is unlike football. Violence is a match where both sides lose and no side wins.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Chapter 154 : A Tassie team in the AFL

It is really easy for to say we need a Tassie team in the AFL.

I want my grandkids to grow up to be fit and healthy. Physically, emotionally and socially healthy.

Are these two thoughts connected?  Will the health of my grandkids in the future be related to Tasmania having a football or a soccer team in a national league?

Any ex-player or coach or commentator hops off the plane and, in the airport, says, “Tassie should have their own team in the AFL.” 

My aim is for my grandkids to grow up fit and healthy. To be physically, mentally, emotionally and socially healthy.  This will involve developing lifelong habits. Habits involving physical exercise, diet and drug use.

Their physical health will depend on the amount of physical activity they do. This activity will be either organised competitive sport or non-competitive activities. If they turn out to have talent they may find themselves in a local AFL squad.  In a squad their physical health will improve in the short term but their long term health depends on learning lifelong habits not learning how to listen to a coach. If they are members of an AFL squad, I can’t imagine any advantage of having that squad in Tassie. I imagine at that age they would love the idea of going to a big city. It would be hard to keep them.

Their long term health will also depend on their nutritional habits. What they eat. Hopefully I will be able to influence them. In the long term their diet will depend on learning and developing good habits. They will have to learn how to make choices. How to go somewhere were a lot of bad unhealthy food is sold and make good choices. Choices that result in them eating healthy food. Hopefully there will be some way a Tassie AFL team will help them learn about a good healthy diet. Watching very fit athletic sportsmen will hopefully inspire them to eat healthy foods.

Their long term health will also depend on their attitude to drugs. At present they are surrounded by non-smokers so I don’t see them becoming smokers. They are surrounded by people who drink socially. Somehow they have to learn to use alcohol in a positive way. To experience the positive benefits and avoid the negative effects. Will a Tassie AFL team will affect them. Maybe watching them will change their alcohol consumption.

They also need to avoid other drugs with negative side-effects. Either prescribed or illegal. I will try and show them the benefits of a life without drugs. I will try and show them you can have a good time and enjoy themselves without drugs. Will watching elite sportsmen encourage my grandkids not to relying on drugs. To see that drugs belong to the weak, cowardice. Not to the tough or courageous or clever. 

I also want my grandkids to be healthy mentally and socially. This is where a Tassie team may help.  Watching a local team will have social benefits. Sitting in the stand, eating a pie and cheering with the crowd will benefit them socially.

If they aren’t incredibly talented or their local environment leads them to different sports does it matter if Tassie has an AFL team? They may go and watch the team. They may sit in the stand drink beer and eat bought food.  They will barrack for Tasmania. I don’t think they will be passionate about Tasmania beating the other states. I don’t think they will grow up with a feeling that we Tasmanians are poorly treated and we can prove how good we really are on the football field. Because of the internet they are having a more global attitude. Less provincial and local. I am not expecting them to have chips on their shoulders.

I grew up in an area of Melbourne which had its own team in the VFL. We religiously watched the scraggers. We got to know all the people who stood with us near the horse.  The fact that our community had a team in the VFL was of little relevance. The only time the local community benefited was in 2016 when we won. Other years the local team was not a great source of pride. It was always the omnipresent goliath which dominated local football and all other local sport.

I want to grow up in a state full of fit, healthy people of all ages of both sexes and of all abilities.  If a Tassie team in the AFL will help achieve this then I welcome it.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Chapter 153 : postcards for sale

On a recent holiday I saw something strange. Postcards for sale. I couldn’t resist buying some. My memory told me postcards need stamps. I was then told we don’t sell stamps. You have to buy stamps elsewhere. She told me where to buy stamps.

I returned to my holiday room. The postcard gave me a standard picture.  The same picture as everybody else. They also gave me a space which told me how many words I could write.  I then wondered how to address them.  What are the addresses of these grandkids? I could send them an email and ask them their address.

I find a shop selling stamps. The stamps have very tiny, beautiful pictures on them which I manage to fix to the cards. In the right place and up the right way.  The lady says, “To post them you have to exit the front door, turn right and you will see a post box.”

After sending the postcards I send a group email to my grandkids. I include a photo of grandma. I tell them in the email they will receive a postcard. Watch out for it arriving in your letter box.  I receive an instantaneous reply.

Every day I send group emails to my grandkids. The amount of words varies. Most days I add a photo. A photo I have taken. Grandma Facetimes the kids. She talks to them. Somehow I have to explain to them what a postcard is and how popular they used to be. I can’t imagine them seeing numerous advantages in postcards. I can’t imagine postcards becoming the latest craze.

Loitering in a souvenir shop the advantages of postcards manifests. We now see a souvenir we can buy that they will use. A fridge magnet for affixing postcards.
When we return my grandkids excitedly greet us and say, “Look what I got.”
They love their postcards. They show me their fridge and its adornments. They all want their postcard to be the highest.

Even better is the day after we arrive back in Hobart. More postcards mysteriously arrive. We watch them retrieve the postcards from their letter box. They love them and love displaying them. I suspect one of them took a postcard to school for show and tell.
As I watch them use their fridge magnets my thought bubbles move from postcard to telegrams. I could tell them the story of when I first worked overseas 40 years ago. International phone calls were very expensive and involved a lot of planning. They were special. They were not spontaneous and routine.

One day I returned to my place of residence. A telegram was waiting for me. I thought I’m not opened that.  Telegrams are always bad news. I put the telegram on the mantelpiece and stared at it. I left it there for at least a day. Eventually I thought I had better open it. Must know the truth.

The telegram said, “Happy birthday.” Even though it was a day late I was mightily relieved.  Not all telegrams are bad news. I never thought that one day telegrams will cease to exist. A new and more effective way for people to communicate with other distant people will exist.  

Slide nights have gone the same way. When young a few of my cousins made the trip by boat back to the “Mother Country.” They returned a few years later with a box of slides. A slide night was arranged. 

The night arrived. A slide projector was fiddled with, a screen hung and everybody seated suitably.

And then it began. The slides. Every slide had a story. Sometimes the story was told by my uncle who had remained home. That didn’t stop him. Slide nights have gone the way of telegrams. It’s assumed everybody has already seen everything on Facebook.

My turn to travel eventually arrived. Being a dentist I didn’t go to England. I listened to older, respected dentists and they all said don’t go to England. If you go to England, work on the NHS, your work will go downhill. I went elsewhere. And I found where-ever I went they sold postcards.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Chapter 152 : waiting for the bus

We walk towards the bus stop.

We don’t know when a bus will arrive. We will wait. Waiting is okay. Watching a bus depart as we approach the bus stop is not okay.

There is a timetable displayed. I ignore it. As we wait other people arrive and wait. We take it in turns to glance up the road.  Then we all see a large, bulky, steadily bus moving relentlessly towards us.   
No hurry to board the bus. We know it will wait for everyone. After boarding we have to choose a seat. After boarding I have a quick squizz around the passengers. They having a sneaky squizz at us people boarding.  If there were no empty seats I would have to sit next to someone. Who could it be?
With my grandkids they always want the same seat. The very back seat. It is high and wider. They can sit and survey everybody on their bus.

The bus driver drives nonchalantly. Seemingly unaware that he just missed that car. Going around that corner she seemed a bit close. She is oblivious to all his near misses.  

Sitting on the back seat we have a good view of the other passengers.

A guy with headphones singing loudly.  Singing as if home in the shower.

A lady with two kids. A fussy mother hen. Fluffing and clucking to her kids. Sit down here. Don’t stand. Don’t throw that packet.
An older lady. Protecting her enormous bag as if it contains crown jewels. Her clothes are either from or are going to an op shop.

A lady with a pram. She maneuvers the pram and holds it to prevent it rolling. She smiles as she leans and tickles her baby. She loves her child.

A gaggle of young school kids with heavy school bags.  Talking incessantly.  Peripatetic arms. 
A man in a suit with a brief case. Two stories bubble up and emanate from him.  His car is being repaired due to an accident. He has lost his license due to drink driving. I won’t ask him which story is true.

A young female wearing a t-shirt telling me a band she likes. My shirt doesn’t talk to her. My shirt tells her that I am boring.  I could go and tell her my favourite band. 
A man closes his eyes and lies his head back. His wife peers at him and smiles to herself. She thinks about how much she loves him.  

In front of me a lady continues her phone conversation.  She is inviting me to listen to her conversation. I imagine the person she is talking to. Going by everything she says it is female friend. They are talking about what happened last weekend and what it means when he says, “I like you a lot.”

An older man walks past me, bends over and says, “The zip on your bag is open. Stuff can fall out.”
I nod and do up the zip.

My grandkids become aware that there is a button they can press. I wait for someone to press the “Next Stop” button and see the sign light up. I then say to Kay, “Show me how to press the button.”

Kay presses the button and says, “You’re the best grandfather I’ve ever had.”

At the next stop some people alight through the rear door. Some from the front door. They all say, “Thank you.” 

I say to Kay, “They are all thanking you for pressing the button.”

We look down on all the cars containing one person. All the cars united by the road and separate from each other. A lady is on her I-phone. She is communicating with somebody. Maybe in Sydney or Europe or USA. Maybe even someone in Hobart.  

I peer back down at the cars.  I hope to see a politician caught in the traffic. Hopefully one who sees traffic as a problem? Hopefully one who wants to spend my taxes to build a tunnel or a by-pass. Unfortunately I don’t see any politicians.

I see two cars both thinking a precious parking spot belongs to one of them. One of them will have to give up. One of them will drive on. One of them will think parking their car sums up their day.  
I peer back down at the cars. Hermetically sealed bubbles that stop, start and crawl.  

Sitting by themselves the drivers all look incredibly unhappy. They all behave as if invisible.  I look around the bus at all the people and see why the car drivers are all so unhappy. They are missing out. They are missing out on humanity.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Chapter 151 : Hobart is the fresh, cold wind...

The plane aims for the runway and lands with a bump then taxis across the runway. We stand and wait while people jostle for their luggage. When the door is opened I am expecting Hobart.

The door opens and coming out of the warm plane I stand at the top of the stairs and feel Hobart.
Hobart is the fresh, cold, windy air that hits me.

I imagine the buildings around Hunter Street. These stone buildings have existed forever and will remain forever. They don’t make them like that anymore and we don’t know how they made them and who made them but we love them.
My mind drifts towards the dock.  Princess Wharf 1. Often bypassed, ignored and invisible. It normally sleeps but periodically awakens for food, fun and people.

Some tourists are taking photos of statues that us locals often ignore. We all sup and drink together and watch the boats. Some coming.  Some going. Some working. Some recreational boats. We then wander around the docks dodging cars looking for a place to park.

There is a seal scavenging between the boats. Attracting cameras from the docks. And pointed at by a group of kayakers.
On Saturday everything changes. Salamanca Market arrives. Most Saturdays at one of our parkruns I speak to one of our visitors. They are all heading towards the Salamanca Market after the parkrun. With high expectations.

Sometimes a cruise ship will dwarf the docks. Ejecting queues of lanyarded people. They will see a lot more of our state than we will see of them.

When I head towards the shops I come to Macquarie and Davey Street, full of endless streams of advancing cars.  Arterial roads clogged and constipated with cars. The same roads become clear and spacious when everybody is in their idyllic, semi-rural, dream home with a view.

From the docks I head towards the Tasman Bridge. Which connects the two halves that can’t live by themselves. Like the two halves of a heart they need each other and keep each other alive.

Pass the Queens Domain. Bypassed daily it is silent, mysterious and unknown. Now home to an empty dilapidated cage which once housed the last of its species. The decrepitude cage stimulates thoughts of Benjamin. Pacing forlornly back and forth in his cage. We still have the cage. We don’t have what lived in it. 

The Queens Domain is named after Queen Victoria. A lady who never saw her Domain, didn’t manage it and probably didn’t even know about it. There were people who lived there for thousands of years and looked after and managed it. All that remains of them are a few middens by the river. 

The Queens Domain stimulates thoughts of our parkrun. Everybody enters. Males, females, old, young, all ranges of ability or lack of. Another thought bubble floats up. The Bellerive parkrun. Adjacent to the Bellerive oval where elite sportspeople with ability play and we drink, eat and watch.

Further on we come to the bipolar Botanical Gardens. One day we wander, mooch and admire the plants. The next day we lie on the grass, sup and peer for the performers on the stage and listen to music.  The next day we are back photographing the flowers.

The Derwent River is brooding, slow flowing and broad. Continuously becoming wider and wider.  Sometimes home to regattas of boats. Not home for fishermen or swimmers.  They are well aware of the Derwent’s hidden secrets. It’s cold and full of heavy metals. 

I reach the bottom of the stairs. My mind drifts to the always slumbering Mt Wellington. The mountain that comes and goes. When hidden behind clouds it is always present. Nestling in its foothills is The Lady Franklin Gallery. Displaying art by us.

Guided by a florescent jacket and flags on ropes we head across the tarmac towards a sign that says “Welcome to Hobart”.  We wonder what new renovations have occurred at our airport in the last few weeks. When will they hammer in the final nail.? Where do we get our luggage from this time? How many people will we meet and talk to about our trips?  As we walk across the tarmac I can feel Hobart.

Hobart is the fresh, cold wind hitting my face and it feels good. 

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Chapter 150 : Christchurch

Being “retired” my wife and I occasionally travel. Recently our travels deposited us in Christchurch eight years after an earthquake destroyed much of the CBD and three days after a horrific tragedy ended many lives.

Christchurch is a spacious, well planned city on a small river.  It is stained and marked and dominated by the two recent tragedies.

We find ourselves in a hotel very close to the recent tragedy. We wander up to the Botanical gardens and Hagley Park. We see massed flowers lying beside a wall. We see messages written in chalk. I happen to have chalk in my backpack and add a few words. A lady next to me borrows my chalk and adds her words. We both stand back silent and overwhelmed. 

All the messages and flowers express love and good will. There is a feeling of unbelievable goodwill and love towards everybody from everybody. All throughout the city we saw messages and words telling everybody that Muslims are loved.

In Christchurch we see many buildings destroyed and held up with external scaffolding looking like insects. We see many open areas with installations, street art or plants and grass.  The street art all looks fantastic. Much better than a brick wall. The installations often look fantastic and say different things to different people. My wife and I couldn’t agree about most of them. What they were saying.

We see many recent new buildings and others being built. Buildings better than in the past. All wires are underground. No ugly poles and wires. The new buildings are not high rise. 3/4 stories max.

We don’t see 70/80 percent of buildings in CBD which were destroyed.

We see an incredible powerful memorial. 165 empty chairs. One for each person who’s life ended in the earthquake.   We stand mute and overwhelmed. 

We return to Hagley Park two weeks later for the local parkrun. The day after a memorial service.  Nothing remains except the temporary fences and portable toilets. No rubbish. No signs. No people. No chairs. All gone leaving a beautiful spacious park and outside the park a wall of flowers.

All the park runners talk about running. No mention of the local tragedy. Last week the local parkrunners commemorated the tragedy appropriately. Today they have moved on.  Today they are out to celebrate their community. To prove they cannot be broken. The course is through Hagley Park. It is flat and fast.

The recent disasters have shown the world that Christchurch is a good city.  Christchurch has been tested. It has been given difficulties and proved that it knows how to cope with them.

The city has regenerated itself and is resurrecting itself from the earthquake in 2011. It will eventually finish up better looking, more livable and stronger than previously.

For Hobart the message is our planning should include rebirth, renewing and rebuilding without the death and destruction to proceed it. Our planning should involve resurrection without death?

In Christchurch the horrific tragedy this year has resulted in outpourings of goodwill. Hagley Park was full of compassionate, sensitive people with positive, good thoughts. Many of them placed flowers or wrote in chalk on the wall.  Many stood.

The tragedy has bought the best out of the people of Christchurch. Shown the world that their community can rise above; is better than a lone mad, deranged gunman.

Christchurch will be a community welcoming people from all around the world believing in every possible religion. Where everybody celebrates the differences between people and where everybody respects other people. Christchurch will triumph.  Good will win over evil.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Chapter 149 : Christchurch E

Chapter 149 : email from Christchurch 31 March

31 March

Christchurch parkrun amongst the temporary fences from yesterday‘s service.
Inside Hagley Park nothing remains except the fences and toilets. No rubbish. No signs. No people. No chairs. All gone leaving a spacious park, a wall of flowers (outside the park) and 260 runners.

All the runners talk about running. No mention of the local tragedy. Its move on time.

The course is flat, good paths, good weather.
We walk there and back from the hotel. 

Day to be a tourist in Christchurch. Tram, museum, gondola, curio shops, cafes, talk to fellow tourists.  We are suddenly the experts. Telling them were to go and how to do it. 


Chapter 148 : Christchurch D

Chapter 147 : Christchurch C

Chapter 147 : email from Christchurch 30 March

30 March

Christchurch was hit by an earthquake in 2011. 

Today we see; many buildings destroyed and held up with external scaffolding looking like insects; many open areas with installations or plants and grass; signs of building it better this time. All wires are underground. No ugly poles and wires. 

Lot of street art.  Every piece looks good better than a painted wall.

70/80 percent of 2/3 story buildings in CBD were destroyed. Some have been replaced. Some made into open areas.

The new buildings are not high rise.3/4 stories max. Plenty of land.
Spacious well planned city. Not on a port or river. There is a small river but it does not influence planning.

City of death, destruction and renewal, rebirth. See destroyed buildings, 165 empty chairs and new buildings, open spaces better than previous. 

Is an earthquake and destruction the only way to rebuild and regenerate a city?


Chapter 146 : Christchurch B

Chapter 145 : Christchurch A

Chapter 144 : email written in bus on way to Christchurch 29 March

29 March

A day of travel to Christchurch. 

"It is a busy day. A memorial service. Cat Stephens; Scott Morrison; Prince William will be there.”

Some people have had their parents, children, relatives murdered and are now part of a media circus. I just want to leave them alone.

In our travels we see tourist attractions which exist because of a disaster years ago.
Time seems to turn some personal disasters into a great story and a tourist stop with a cafe and curios.

I hope we don’t see any famous people or TV cameras in Christchurch.  The TV journalists and people around the world want to know how Christchurch is recovering. They can do their job and I’ll do a small walk around Christchurch.

The people on our tour are all like us. Retired Australian couples. Rich or comfortable. You can tell they are rich because they never talk about the cost of things. They just pay.
They all have grandchildren; a footy team; a history of successful and demanding work and future travel plans.  You can decide how typical we are.


Chapter 143 : Mt Cook C

Chapter 142 : Mt Cook B