VIPs, flowers and hail

Being an archive for the Canterbury earthquakes means 22 February is a big day for us at work. It fell on a Saturday this year, but that just meant we had one less day to prepare, because we had to have a major collection ready for launch on the 21st instead.  And of course, the anniversary had to coincide with our website getting all glitchy (luckily nothing too bad went wrong with the public-facing side, but behind the scenes everything was taking us twice as long as it should have) so it was a bit of a panic last week getting everything done in time.  But we managed it, and could proudly present our latest work to the Mayor on Friday evening.
Which is a long-winded way of introducing the fact I got to have drinkies with the Mayor and a bunch of other VIPs on Friday night.  And meet several earthquake survivors (ok, so in a sense we’re all survivors, but these were of the “trapped in a fallen building and had to get rescued” type survivors, not just the “that was a bit scarey but the building is still upright and I can walk out” variety the rest of us are), which was wonderful.  It actually turned out to be quite an enjoyable evening (against my usual expectations for these sort of official functions!), which I spent talking to some really interesting people.  Got my photo in the paper, too (well, sort of – I’m in the background of a picture of someone else).  Don’t worry though, I won’t let the fame go to my head 😉

Once again there was a community-led River of Flowers commemoration alongside the official memorial events on Saturday, so I opted to go to the one in Deans Bush.  Unfortunately, it being Saturday it coincided with the farmers’ market, which, combined with a lack of signage meant that the River of Flowers people ended up split between two locations, and no clear way of signalling when the minute’s silence was supposed to begin (and it wasn’t all that silent anyway, because the market was still going on in the background).  But despite the hiccoughs and what seemed like a poor turnout (because half the people were in a different spot), it was still a moving experience, sharing our memories of the day and of what we’d lost.

We had a huge thunderstorm pass through yesterday (apparently it was officially a super cell, and there were even a couple of tornadoes!).  Almost constant thunder for half an hour or so, and massive amounts of hail (pretty big hailstones too – most of them looked around the size of peas).
I wouldn’t have liked to have to be out in it, but it was amazing to watch from the window:

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