Saturday, September 4, 2010

An extroadinary 24 hours - Canterbury

I took Friday afternoon off, and Al and I headed to Akaroa to help at a 'Pop Up Dinner' as part of Feast of Canterbury  (secret location was actually at my parents' place in an old corrugated iron shed, above their house, up their farm drive). It started snowing on the drive over to Akaroa... then hail and sleet.  Pretty apocalyptic and freezing for a feast in a shed!. 
But the event went on anyway - here is the shed being set up for the dinner - it was hosted by Vangionis (restaurant in Akaroa) and it was called a 'Mediterranean Feast' with Black Estate and Three Boys beer... - a serious combo for a good night of hospitality!

And check out what Vangionis were preparing for dinner!  Pig, boned by the local butcher, trussed beautifully and skewered on the best No 8 wire NZ contraption I have seen in a while.  


And after...

And then presented to the grand table! (note nice duo playing latin american tunes al night)

It was a great night in the shed...

All 60 guests were done with the rustic 4 course meal by 11.30pm and drove down the by now muddy drive.  We walked to the house, relieved that everyone had enjoyed themselves and got back to Akaroa township safely - we had a cup of Earl Grey by the fire and went to bed...until...

...when we were woken by NZ's worst earthquake since Napier.

It felt like Akaroa Harbour was really pissed and the whole earth was grumbling and trying to pretty much de-stabalise us all.  You could hardly walk to get to the door arches.  With the power out it was like being in a white-out skiing, but it was a 'black-out' and the earth was moving for 40 seconds.

Being in Akaroa we had no idea what was happening in Christchurch.  My parents' house fared well with a few cracks and paintings dislodged. 
Slowly we understood that our town was not faring that well, although there were miraculously no fatalities. 

We stayed in Akaroa for the day, listening to the wireless (power and water were off all day), waiting to hear if we could return to our cottage in Christchurch - (it was ironically the most blissful day)....

By 6pm we made it back and saw that our cottage on its 1860s 'rocks for piles' had come off very well, without even a chimney down, just most things dislodged (and miraculously only a few things broke per room).  The wine stayed in tact! 

Unfortunately the neighbours did not fare that well (with chimneys and full brick walls fallen).  After experiencing the aftershocks for an hour in our weatherboard house we bailed for Waipara to my sister's place and are holed up here till it calms down (and I'll then post more pics of the craziness).  Until then, we are hanging with family and its really comforting.  We will head to the local brewer soon for a beer.

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