Canterbury Anniversary Day (Show Day) always means one thing: we don’t see The Farmer for three days. Show Weekend is also the annual fun weekend for Halswell Miniature Trains and, eager not to miss a moment, he and a selection of likeminded souls set up camp in the clubrooms. He arrived home yesterday afternoon tired, sunkissed, and smiling.
The Renovator also had a night away, a second attempt by the senior teachers at his school to witness the night sky from Mount John Observatory. Unfortunately they travelled 240 km only to have the clouds roll in for a second time. He arrived home not long before The Farmer tired, a tad frustrated, and pleased to be home.
The four remaining Homesteaders mooched around for a while then took themselves in hand. Having downloaded the latest Steve ‘n’ Seagulls album (can’t thank you enough Neil Irving for introducing us to these guys) and Stephen Fry voicing our car GPS navigation (some of the nervier drivers find other guides a tad panic-inducing) we decided on an adventure. Priming Stephen with our intent to walk in Victoria Park we popped Steve etc into the soundsystem and toddled off. We had heaps of fun rediscovering this gorgeous place and trying to pick out the Homestead from on-high.
Last night, it was wonderful to all be under the same roof again. We sat together, toasted a weekend well spent, and watched an episode of a Homestead favourite, The Brokenwood Mysteries, before toddling bedwards.
Then, at 12.02am, the 7.5 quake hit 134 km away from the Homestead. Here we were shaken up, freaked out, but okay. Our thoughts went out to those that weren’t; we’ve been there and know how it feels.
The tsunami warning was a little slow coming through. We’d heaved the giant sigh of relief that always greets the NO TSUNAMI ALERT message from the website we are signed up to. But they reassessed and at 1.30am we made the hard, heart-wrenching decision to leave menagerie (except Xanthe who was a bit slow making it through the cat door and spent the night in her cage in the car – Mel was much fleeter of paw despite her advanced years) and The Homestead and head for higher ground.
A sleepless night was spent at The Dee’s residence. The fact that we didn’t sleep was no reflection on the hospitality of our hosts on having a dishevelled, wild-eyed, guilt-ridden Eastside refugees arrive on their doorstep.
Nothing flowery…just “thanks.”
The cordon was lifted at about 8am and we’re now back on the Homestead. A mere eight hours, give or take, from warm bed to returning home.
That was our last night. We send our love to those still living it.