Its spring….blah

Its Spring, but who would know it? All I have to show for this joyful advent of frolicking and flirting is a supermarket bag full of snotty tissues.

The weather has gone back to mid winter and on the news Obama is up in Alaska wringing his hands about a retreating glacier caused by human industrial activity. That the glacier in question has been recorded as retreating since at least the American Civil war, before modern pollution was invented, seems to be irrelevant. The most significant years of retreat were in the 1880’s. That retreating and advancing is what glaciers naturally do between ice ages seems not to be a consideration.

I am in a grump about all this because in the midst of all this global warming rant, I have a damned head cold. I feel like showing Obama the contents of my supermarket bag and tell him to send a little warming over to my part of the damn globe. I went to the doctor and was sent away without even a consolation box of paracetamol and effectively charged $43 to be told I was being a princess.

It also didn’t help that I spent a bleak weekend in Christchurch. Its tedious recovery is sad at the best of times, but when wrapped in gloomy drizzle, downtown Christchurch is quite depressing.

The newly iconic Deloittes glass tower was possibly predictable as the design choice for a modern professional institution, but sad to think that glass walls will now be the most outstanding contribution to the architectural landscape of central Christchurch. I can’t imagine that in 100 years time visitors will stand in awe of the craftsmanship; I can’t imagine that in 100 years time it would still be standing at all.

I despair at the wasted millions for that cardboard tent shape cathedral, and I am quite angry that grey-haired old American (or Canadian or whatever) Anglican lady bishop is so hellbent on eliminating any architectural reference to the original cathedral in order to put up a “modern” cathedral with, no doubt, her name on the plaque and a presumably free pass into one of the reserved sections of heaven.

When it comes to churches, the older the better. I note the Catholic cathedral down the road has announced that  the cathedral will only be partially deconstructed and the central nave will be saved so that the building will be restored rather than replaced. That’s the Italians for you, a bit of respect for heritage and culture; not like the modern old lady Anglican bishop.

My mood was not helped by the presence of the City Council parking enforcement contractor out at 9am on a Sunday morning, at the far east end of the city, catching anyone over-staying in the 15 minute zones that filled one side of an industrial side street where we were having breakfast. Parking is tough enough for visitors supporting their economy. That sort of bureaucratic zeal is really quite unforgivable and seems just plain miserable given the shambolic state of the ‘services’ the Council is currently providing visitors and residents.

But many of the new buildings seem, to be as kind as possible, in the cheep chique architectural style. Flat-panel walls, pretending to be modernist, but you can see 10 year use-by date written all over them. These buildings will have to be considered disposable items, not worth repairing or refurbishing after 10-15 years. Knock them down and build another even cheaper version. Probably a flatpack building out of a Vietnamese 3D print shop.

But saddest is the realisation that a once cultural city is on a bureaucratic fast-track to becoming New Zealand’s most boring city. Hamilton must be sighing with relief as they watch the development. I find myself wondering whether, had I not left  Christchurch where I briefly lived back in the early 80’s, what would I have done after the quake?

Would I have just taken the best insurance deal I could get within the first year and left? Relocated to Dunedin, Nelson, Wellington, Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne?

I suspect I would.



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