Last Night

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.

IMG_0421.jpgLast 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.

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19 thoughts on “Last Night

  1. oh wow…so glad you are safe and ok…and my heart too goes out to those less fortunate. Tough call about leaving the menagerie, so I’m glad all was well on that front. It’s an aspect of our own emergency preparedness in a similar eventuality that we’ve acknowledged but never had to put into practice, thank goodness.

    • It wasn’t much fun, but we’re proud the systems we put into place should the need arise worked well and swiftly. Sure a few things were forgotten, but from making the decision to backing out the drive took 15 minutes which included a couple of goat cuddles and a cat search 🙂
      I fear there will now be a hue and cry and heads will roll over how it was managed or tsunami sirens not being activated early enough or any number of things. From our point of view, you can plan all you like; it’s only when the adrenaline’s flowing and you’re in the middle of it that you really get to test these things. As a whole, the official systems and those in authority did as well as the Homestead.

  2. Hi, I am pleased to learn you are recovering well from the effects of the earthquake and threat of a tsunami. It would be very difficult to make the decision to leave your animals to their fate. I guess you are now having to deal with any aftershocks.

    • I haven’t felt that many aftershocks but apparently we have. Leaving the Homestead was incredibly difficult, decided by vote (not unanimously) and something I hope we don’t have to consider again for a long time. That goodbye goat cuddle was very difficult.

  3. Glad are all safe at the Homestead. Thanks for the recent post good to catch up on whats happening with you guys. Our family in Chch and Wellington all good too.

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