Helloooooo , Leandra here from downunder.
Just got a few minutes on day 5 of our trip to Aussie and New Zealand to update you on our adventure so far.....
Tues late evening we left Heathrow bound for Hong Kong and Melbourne, many hours later we were met in Melbourne 6.30 ish by Angus and Jennifer, our hosts for Thursday and Friday at their shop Crafters Cupboard.
Thursday the main goal was to chill by catching up with Malcolm and Helen Calder for lunch. They were friends from Tauranga, New Zealand and had moved to Melbourne a year after we left NZ. It was lovely to catch up with all their news, albeit briefly.
Friday I had a class 10-2.30 where we did various Ellen Vargo, JOFY techniques, and generally chatted about all kinds of stuff- I'd forgotten how Aussies can talk non stop, and so it was nice to just sit and listen to them rabbit on!
Friday at 3 and 6pm we had 2 groups of ladies come to watch demos, more chat and laughter. They made striped backgrounds and over stamped with more paint and archival inks. As pictured above. Typically I only took a couple of class pictures (apologies) They went onto make more random abstract backgrounds (I will do a video on both methods).
I then went on to demo various techniques throughout the afternoon.
At midnight we were back at the airport for a 3.5 hr flight to Christchurch that arrived at 5am. Kind of crazy, but we had decided to power on through Saturday by keeping busy. My dad, always a great tour guide had planned out a day trip driving around the city, but first breakfast, with bubbles. Probably not a great way to go, fighting jetlag with alcohol, but when in Rome and all that!
So first up we went to Sumner, a coastal town, tucked under the blobby bit that sticks out into the sea on the eastern side of the South Island, Christchurch. Here is dad and Mark, banks peninsular in the background. Scummy days out for me as a child were often spent in this area on the beach, it used to be known as the place where hippies would live, wanting the coastal lifestyle yet close proximity to the city.
Sumner with its hilly land was particularly badly hit in the earthquakes, houses up the hills fell onto houses lower down, many million dollar properties are sitting empty and are uninhabited, just left as they were. There's a massive safety issue, with entire slips gouging out the hilly vista, and many containers are lined along the road at the foot of the coastal road to prevent further rock/ land slides encroaching onto the road below. Very sad, and astonishing that a few years later, these temporary measures are still there. As you can see below, they have covered the 2 layers of containers with art work to mask the ugly containers, but in other places they are not decorated this way.
You cannot get you head around the vast number of lives affected, and getting people re-homed, and houses repaired is still the primary focus here.
So we took a stroll, and right on the beach we found this...
Who are we to object to a glass of wine in the sun on a winters day in NZ! We sat at that table outside in the picture with a Chardonnay. Nice.
I even saw some yarn bombing...small scale!
And then when we came out, this! A London bus....things you don't expect to see in Christchurch! They do tours around in this apparently.
Next we drove further noth up the coast to New Brighton, in this area some of the land is very low lying, and we saw entire neighbourhoods, street after street of uninhabited broken homes, and cleared sections, it's very weird that some have been cleared and others haven't. The roads surfaces are all broken, and you will drive past bus stops and corner shops showing that a once vibrant neighbourhood is now gone and deserted. Like a ghost town, then 2 streets later there will be 3 houses unaffected, and further along more destruction. The randomness of the destruction is weird to observe. I was too sad and shocked to take pictures.
The pier from the beach survived, a newer construction. And from here the Canterbury Coast extends north looking like this most of the way. Played here for hours as a child too.
As we headed back into Christchurch it was so apparent how many businesses moved out of the CBD to continue to trade in the suburbs. Ferry road is one of those light industrial areas, here a craft village has popped up with artisan shops a brewery, right next to light industrial manufacturers or car repair garages. No prizes for guessing why we stopped here....brews!
The decor in the mall section was stunning, and we stopped for a craft beer, brewed on site and stone fired pizza for a late lunch.
Here was a florist that smelled divine in the mall section.
A surf shop on the outside section.
Nice detail in this 'wall' alongside the brewery.
A gorgeous fabric shop (marimekko designs), and ceramics.
It's nice to see rising from the ashes much in the way of new development, but it's shocking to drive anywhere and every street has blank sections that have has destroyed buildings removed, but in equal number are empty houses, apartment blocks, commercial buildings that have not yet been dealt with.
So today (Saturday ) I have consumed the obligatory champagne with my breakfast (Dad does crack me up), and we are off into central city for the first time. We are meeting up with Melissa and Hilary, 2 school friends for lunch. We also intend to take a walk around the city, but there is rain and gales coming this afternoon, so we shall see how far we make it.
Tomorrow we fly to Rotorua and next week we start the Rotorua/Tauranga/ Whakatane/ Mt Maunganui section of our trip (home)
Take care and enjoy your weekend!