I’ve been away on holiday the past couple of weeks, and will be away again in another few days but am covering for someone at work for four days this week so back to work Monday. I managed to get out surfing almost every day but for 11 days at the bach we only saw one fine day (New Year’s Eve). I sspent a relaxing New Years Eve at the beach at Kakanui where we had a bonfire with the kids, my wife's brother and his children, a mate and his partner. A relaxing and enjoyable way to see in the New Year with the family and friends.
|New Years Eve 2013|
Before we went south we headed up to Christchurch to catch up with my wife’s family and many of my old my friends. One of my mates was back from the US, another was down from Auckland and others from round the South Island so was great to a catch up with everybody- it doesn’t seem to happen that much any more. The Carlton hotel on Papanui Rd was our local for about 8 years and has recently been rebuilt (it like most of central CHCH it was badly damaged in the earthquakes) so we headed down there for the evening and had an enjoyable time even if we weren’t overly enamoured by the new "Toon".
The thing that I found was disconcerting about this particular trip to CHCH was the vacant sections. I grew up in Burwood and still really like that part of CHCH. Driving along New Brighton Rd, a road I’ve travelled down literally thousands of times and seeing empty section after empty section was a real eye opener. I don’t know how people still living in the city feel about it, maybe as they’ve seen the houses being removed and sections cleared over time they've gotten used to it as it has been a gradual process for them over time but for me, not having been down those streets for several months, having grown up in the area and having memories of how the streets used to/should look it was a real surprise. Memories of what was being replaced by the new reality of what now is, and the long term impact of the earthquakes are still having was not what I was expecting. As an example, before getting married and heading overseas to Japan I flatted with my mate Ian for several years. His former house and that of another mate who ended up buying the property directly behind him, as with most of the houses in his street, is now gone. Abandoned sections is all that remains of the well maintained houses of this once thriving area full of families. This street also used to have commercial market gardens, the last of which were sold off in the mid 2000s during the property boom. The street now is almost empty and the houses that remain are derelict and abandoned. It would be good if the council could return some of those empty areas into market gardens that once graced the area, or even have areas of communal gardens, and so help to make it a much more ecologically friendly and green city- the have the perfect opportunity to do so but whether or not they choose to I guess time will tell.
|All that remains of where I used to flat- a cabbage tree.|
Anyway enough of that. Isn't this meant to be a gaming blog? I've no resolutions or plans for gaming…yet. I’ve a vague intention to not buy any gaming stuff for quite a while but we will see, no doubt a fancy new project will grab my imagination at some point but at present I am taking things easy and avoiding any new projects- I wonder how long that lasts. This is partially because I am in the beginning stages of a project to add another bedroom to the bach which will be quite expensive. My wife has taken some convincing but I’ve decided to do another year of full time work to pay for most of the alterations (I was planning on cutting down to 3-4 days per week this year) and that has appeased her somewhat. We are currently getting plans drawn up and once we get that done and some firm quotes on price we’ll be good to go.
On the gaming front there is not much to report. I am slowly preparing for Day of Days and need to get my US force finished off- I’ve been working on it sporadically. I hope to have a game of Flames this week to playtest some more doubles ideas. There are a couple of gaming comps are being held later this month and early Feb (Valleycon in Wellington and Warclouds in CHCH) and I think I’ll try to make them both. After only playing in 3 comps last year I intend to get back into comps a bit more this year but we will see if my enthusiasm grows.
Finally an update on our postie. He dropped in another mislabelled Christmas letter the other day and told us that his boss had congratulated him on going out of his way to deliver the Christmas card. Not sure how his boss found out but Ken said had been reported on the web (this blog), and someone told his boss about it (I’ve no idea who he is or who in the country let him know or how it got back to him). NZ is a small country, word definitely gets round so glad to see his good deed get recognised by his superiors.