I haven't been in CHC for many years except for transiting at the airport between Wellington/Palmerston North and Hokitika when I was working with DOC on the West Coast in 2016/17. So it was a bit of a humbling experience to drive into the city and see how much remains to be done since the earthquakes devastated the place. In places it looks like nothing has happened, but the central city, what I saw of it, is very very different. It didn't seem to me that any of the Victorian or Edwardian buildings remained, and there are a number of empty sites where buildings were so damaged that they have been demolished and removed. It reminded me of places we saw in Kent where it was clear that WWII bombs had taken out older buildings and were replaced by newer ones (at the time of reconstruction - crass 50s/60s non-aesthetic, non-architecturally attractive buildings). The replacement buildings in CHC don't look like that, but it's the gaps that touched me. And the main streets are wavy, narrow, with lots of witches hats, still being worked on. However drivers seem good natured and apart from one person who hooted at me loudly when I had to change lanes because of ambiguous lane markings, everyone has seemed very tolerant. Of course, the GPS software hasn't caught up with some road changes - or maybe David hasn't got the latest version of the maps. I will check with my IT Helpdesk.
The early part of last week was spent with the lovely Sarah here, doing a lot of work together on diagrams, templates (her), typing up Workstream Briefs (me). Since Sarah left on Wednesday lunchtime, I have been working alone, making headway on more workstream briefs and other planning stuff as well as a briefing for the CEOs. In drawing up the progress I've made in the 4.2 weeks I've been on the assignment, I am a bit stunned at how much I have got through - of course, I need a lie down about how much there is to go and only 6 weeks in which to do it... No wonder I am working at least one day in each weekend!
Working at the dining room table is great as I can hang A0 sized post it notes (with sticky piece at the top) on the window in front of me and transfer the contents into the templates, and I can spread out across the full width and along the full length of the table. However the downsides are that
- the dining room table is not available for dining
- the dining room and lounge look like a draughting office
- the desk in the bedroom is a secondary storage area, so that is a mess too, and
- the typed up papers are folded and left in a (tidy-ish) pile in the hallway, ready to be taken into the office for secure destruction, so the hall isn't clear either.
Dinner tonight was leftovers - a yummy beef stroganoff with rice and a chopped fresh tomato. Now it is time to blob in front of TV and then off to bed - I am ignoring the dishes ...
Ooh, I forgot the socialising update:
- Joy and Grahame here for dinner on Wednesday - dinner was prepared at speed after 5pm by Sarah and me
- dinner at a neighbour's place on Friday - I took chocolate puddings and came home well before David did as I needed to sleep
- Saturday brekkie at Jan's Cafe in Paraparaumu with Bruce, Gary, Derek and a couple of others - yummy food
- long long nana nap on Saturday until time to go to
- the movies at 4.30pm - saw The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - wonderful. GO and see it, and if you haven't already, get the book and read it. It's about the time of the German occupation of Guernsey.
- then straight down to Bruce and Gary's for roast pork dinner
- and on Sunday I socialised with my laptop and work stuff.
And the weather has been quite pleasant in the main - it was meant to be raining all this week, but the sun was out and the washing got dry outside today.