Reading The Luminaries on Twitter

I have had a ball reading The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. Here is how it played out on Twitter :


Reach for the lazers and the sky: 2013 in pictures: August

Art city


Shand’s emporium


We go to town


Demolition and repair and rebuild


The first daffodil of Spring is the one that sees itself in the mirror





Signs of the times


Funny stuff


Whanau catchups


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.
Charlotte Heberley - Picton cemetery June2011 135June2011 024June2011 015June2011 112June2011 132

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.

December2011 706

Doublet earthquake Wikipedia
Monday 13 June 2011 2:20pm (NZ time), magnitude 6.3. Centred 10km south-east of Christchurch at a depth of 6km. It was preceded at 1pm by a magnitude 5.6 10km east of Christchurch at a depth of 9km. Further building and land damage from lliquefaction and major rockfalls around the Port Hills.

Friday 23 December 2011
1.58pm (NZ time) there was a magnitude 5.8 earthquake, followed by a 5.3 at 2:06pm and a 6.0 at 3:18pm.

September Story Blitz – 4 September 2010 earthquake

4.35am 4 September 2010 – we leapt out of bed when a 7.1 earthquake rattled Canterbury.

It was three years ago today. My daughter is now four and looking back makes me remember how small and vulnerable she was.
Christchurch earthquake

I was the last to arrive in the doorway for shelter, I don’t remember being covered in books.
Canterbury Earthquake September 2010

Our chimney came down, like most Christchurch chimneys did.
Christchurch Earthquake

The sun wasn’t up yet, and we took turns nipping round the corner to see the shops fallen into Victoria Street.
Christchurch earthquake

In the morning, the petrol stations went mad.
Christchurch Earthquake

The neighbour’s chimney was all Jenga-ed.
Christchurch Earthquake

The clean up began, as chimneys were loaded up and building fixed and secured.
Christchurch Earthquake
Christchurch Earthquake

In the days that followed, our neighbourhood was a busy place for the wrecking ball.

Robertson’s Bakery demolition was astonishing, especially when they gracefully picked out the chandelier.
Christchurch Earthquake
Chandelier rescue
Saggio di vino was a No Go.
Christchurch Earthquake

After 4 September, Durham Street Methodist Church was fenced off.

It collapsed in the 22 February 2011 earthquake. Sadly Neil Stocker, Paul Dunlop and Scott Lucy were inside; they were recovering a pipe organ from the church.
Christchurch Earthquake

My quake story

I lived in the central city close to Victoria Street. When the quake struck, my partner went to rescue our baby . He stood with her in the doorway, and I ended up there too but have no recollection of how I got there. The bookshelves had fallen across the bed but missed me since I’m so short.

A few objects fell down in the house, but the kitchen was almost untouched, except for a container of oil which left a big oil slick on the floor.

After the initial drama of getting out of the house we made contact with their neighbours in the other three flats. When we had calmed a bit, we began to venture around the neighbourhood. Around the corner, the Daily Bagel building had collapsed on to the street.

We never lost power and were without water for only a short time. The flat became a gathering point for friends who came to charge phones and use the internet. The day turned into a strange social event with people sitting outside drinking beer, and stiff whiskies from our neighbour Kevin.

I have no recollection of how the quake sounded, even thought the chimney had come down outside our bedroom. Rosary House next door had a very large water tank and for a while afterwards all I could hear was a really loud, strange, slosh, slosh, slosh.

That day and the next day, we gathered extra batteries and torches, secured bookshelves and tidied up the house. Having our wee girl was a distraction – normal things like feeding her needed to go on. Even though you are fearful for your child, they are a way of not thinking about the bad things. She loved the distraction and interest of lots of people around.

I was quick to get in touch with Mum, who was on her own at home. Dad was in Dunedin and immediately hitched a ride back on a truck – probably the only person trying to get to Christchurch!

In the days that followed, we grappled with what to do next. I felt so unsafe, that I was afraid that if we went, it would be hard to come back. So we stayed, and worked through it.

There are times  the days and months between 4 September 2010 and 22 February 2011 become a blur, and it isn’t clear what happened when. But September I remember as the time we were shaken awake and the world burst into something new. Into #eqnz, EQC, yes – and aftershocks so constant I was throwing up in a combination of seasickness and fear. And a kind of ballsiness and camaraderie that made Christchurch like London during the blitz.

This could be like the Blitz but I can’t be arsed putting on red lipstick or singing Lili Marlene. It’s jammie pants and pasty face #eqnz

#EQNZ tweets

  • Gotta love you Twitter, you’ve given us a big laugh at argument between #christchurchquake via #eqnz.
  • @lytteltonian Good to hear, hope you’re all bearing up. We are beering up drinking Peroni in the sun at my place @moatatamaira Paul S et al
  • Kia kaha Christchurch! Our chimney’s down. Daily Bagel building on Victoria Street has facade in the street. #eqnz
  • @juhasaarinen Our chimney is down, house trashed, and round the corner a cafe is all over the street.
  • @juhasaarinen Bowels and nerves severely tested, but doing ok thanks. We are the lucky ones who still have power & water (so far)
  • Big old aftershock woke bubba #eqnz #christchurch #earthquake
  • We’re tuned in, good work RT @RNZ_SatMorning If you are in Christchurch tune to RADIO NEW ZEALAND National on 675AM or 101.7FM
  • Just got a txt that cellphone towers might run out of battery power in 60 mins, so don’t panic if it happens #eqnz #christchurch #earthquake
  • My grandad was in school classroom for the Napier quake in 1931, my dad and family in the Inangahua in 1968 #christchurchquake #eqnz
  • My guy just helped nuns get into Rosary House on Dublin St, Mary statue on the ground intact, but had lost her halo #christchurchquake #eqnz
  • My Dad is in Dunedin & has hitched a ride to Christchurch on a big delivery truck to get home to Mum. That’s love. #eqnz #christchurchquake
  • My bedroom is on MSN, forgot to check if anything incriminating in shot
  • Just felt a cold shiver down my spine thinking OpShop, The Feelers etc might do a charity song for Christchurch. #eqnz #christchurchquake
  • Quakezone, Ghost town – New names for Christchurch via the media. Ok so we’re either a vid game or a Specials song.
  • The cats haven’t returned post quake, hope they are out there somewhere getting well fed and pampered.
  • It seems like liquefaction applies to bowels as well as the ground. That was a horrible night #eqnz #thebigqueasy

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