Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Earthquake: Day 8

My current car was bought in March. Which means that the registration, insurance and warrant of fitness all fall due at once, at the beginning of March. I had it in my to do list when the earthquake struck, and I really wanted to get it sorted as it is no time to have anything uninsured.

The insurance company office that I usually pay at is behind the cordon, and our local post shop where I would normally pay the registration is closed. So, in my coffee break I tried to ring the insurance company to pay by telephone with my credit card. I rang the freephone number and first got a recorded message saying how busy they were - which I expected - but then instead of being placed in a half hour queue, it switched to a busy signal. Looking in the phone book for the branch numbers didn't achieve any better results - every single one including the ones in the outlying country towns just came up with a busy signal. I tried the internet - took about ten minutes to load the main page of the insurance company, clearly contacting them online wasn't going to work very well either but at least the front page had a list of which branches were open.

So, at lunchtime, (just after observing two minutes silence at 12.51 p.m), thanks to an understanding boss, I headed off on an adventure. The nearest open branch was in Riccarton, it was very busy there but the car park of the big mall was closed with cranes and men in fluorescent jackets obviously conducting an inspection. I managed to find a half a car park - let the car stick out at the end into the no parking area and headed for the insurance office where they were surprisingly unbusy, and paid the bill.

Then on the way back I headed to the nearest open Post Shop and joined the queue which stretched as far as the door and a bit more. Clearly patience was required. However, mission accomplished - the car is now registered. And the warrant of fitness lasts a few more days, so I will put that one off to another day.

All in all my half hour lunch break stretched to about an hour and a half, but I will still be paid.

We had a lot of phone calls at work in the morning as it had come over the radio that the police had evacuated 65 houses in Bowenvale which is where we were. But we didn't really spot any action, we were on the wider flat part of the valley and I suspect the problem was on the hillsides, there have been concerns about a number of hillsides and cliffs which are threatening to crumble and take houses with them. I later heard that Bowenvale Avenue was closed, but when I went to drive home, it wasn't. Unless perhaps they were referring to the top end, further up the valley.

Other than that, just a normal day at work! With running water even, though as it has to be boiled, I took my own drinking water supply, to avoid pressure on the amount available.

This evening P and I went off to our normal supermarket, which I had heard was now open. It's on the edge of the cordoned off area. The street has been reduced to half width with fences around dodgy buildings. And just north of the supermarket is the cordon with soldiers on guard to stop anyone from going through. As it turned out, the supermarket has limited their hours in the meantime and it had closed. They also had a sign up that due to safety considerations no more than 400 people would be allowed in at once. We drove back home, slowly, watching for steps in the railway overbridge, and holes in the road so large that the word "pothole" really doesn't quite fit.

1 comment:

Mary McCallum said...

Oh my goodness, where has Christchurch gone? It sounds like you are writing about another country. Take care, Catherine, may your patience stay the distance.