We've done our dash with icecream cones and the famed Cone of Silence but to see what cones can mean, hey, visit post-quake Christchurch.
Three years after that day of terror in February 2011, hundreds of Christchurch roads are lined with traffic cones designed to draw motorists away from one way and around another, or rule off whole blocks, indicate fresh detours, protect pedestrians from great holes or broken kerbing - all of the above.
Now when Southlanders sight red cones in the distance there's a lot of sighing, swearing, eyeing and backing all indicative of shock, horror, anger and how'd we avoid that? Which is fair enough seeing the awful condition roads are left in over the weekend when tiny nana cars almost tip over struggling to negotiate great rocky surfaces once more properly bedded in by purpose-built giant rollers. But, enough.
What is wonderful is how Cantabrians are coping with cones. Christchurch seems covered with them - and many are being beautifully decorated by residents appreciative of cones which they rightly see as the start of a rebuild, a sign that money is being spent, work is being done, lights appear at the end of tunnels, the sun is shining, the world is smiling. Each cone has a split at the top and into this people are pushing little bunches of flowers, tiny Christmas trees, a bright flag, trails of ivy, a shower of ribbons.
The idea of decorating the cones - now a permanent part of what's quaintly dubbed street furniture - has caught on big time. Little plastic Cupee dolls are pass.
Tiny Teds with tartan ribbons, red roses on Valentine's day, berries marking the start of autumn and doubtless shamrocks and funny green hats for March 17 - it is all on.
People have discovered creativity where none thought it existed and have buoyed up workmen, themselves, passing motorists and pedestrians like me, enchanted with unexpected artistry at street level.
You have to hand it to Christchurch people.
For sheer courage under fire, creativity when the odds are against them, clean shoes and cars when the going is tough you cannot beat Cantabrians. Thank goodness we can claim them as Mainlanders.
- The Southland Times