Neighbourly spirit to the fore
Blown away by offers of helpPENNY WARDLE
Community spirit is alive and well in rural communities shaken by earthquakes since Friday last week, says Barb Sutton, of Birchmore Farm.
Country people were not isolated but part of strong rural networks, said Ms Sutton.
In the Blind Creek area where she lived, they spent their days repairing and tidying earthquake-damaged homes, then getting together for food and fun.
On Wednesday, she invited neighbours Murray and Daphne Brown, who are staying in a motel because their house is uninhabitable, over for lunch.
The couple's house down the road from Ms Sutton's property still has no power or water.
Mr and Mrs Brown usually hosted a neighbourhood picnic once a month, but were enjoying being the guests, they said.
On Tuesday night, a group enjoyed dinner under the awning of a pop-top campervan camped on the lawn of a home where large chunks of plaster had fallen down.
Conversation at these meals was often along the lines of, "I'll lend you my tractor", she said.
On the menu yesterday at the "Blind Creek Cafe" was soup made from a pumpkin grown by the Browns, one of many delivered around the district when they smashed on the concrete during the quake.
"I texted Daphne, ‘lunch at Birchmore, dine in or take-away, pumpkin soup on the menu, no bookings required'. She replied, ‘a table for two please'."
Ms Sutton said she was blown away by how many friends and neighbours had rung to offer help despite having problems themselves.
This included a friend who recently won a small amount of money in Lotto giving her diesel and phonecards.
Tradespeople such as builders and plumbers had also been outstanding. Barely two hours after being called, they were coming up the drive to do an inspection, she said.
- The Marlborough Express