OPINION: As I have mentioned before, with so much cleared land and the speedy return of it to nature, it often feels as if those living within the four avenues and close to the heart of the city could be living in the country.
This notion was further reinforced as I was pedalling down a street that runs parallel to Colombo St and I was surprised by the image of a small scatter of cows grazing on vacant land. Good grief, Fonterra has moved in already, I thought.
It might be a good idea to add a few sheep and goats to the mix as well to keep the weed and grass at bay, but I suppose then there would be the problem of stock theft and the terrible sound of baa-lambs having their throats cut in the dead of night.
I like the idea of having animals living on sections that have turned into paddocks because it would give the appearance of movement and life in a city disintegrating savagely in front of our eyes.
You can't beat progress, I thought cynically, as I biked past Peterborough St to see what, according to a neighbour's text, was a very good demolition going down.
The Gap Filler initiative is a noble intention but few of those temporary tarted-up spaces seem to attract people to them, for example, the one in Barbadoes St where I have never seen a single person patronise the brightly painted area.
And who would want to sit on the seats provided in a busy one-way street, making themselves vulnerable to the scrutiny of thousands of eyes behind the wheels of cars bearing down that busy arterial route?
The community garden in Fitzgerald Ave too is far too close to the road, exposing the planted vegetables to the pollution of carbon monoxide from the cars.
Wasted effort in a city that needs so much help is a sad thing as homeowners are left stranded in a no-man's land over in the east, waiting and waiting for their fate to be announced, while houses with the most minor of damage have the red carpet treatment, no expense spared.
And can you blame those more fortunate homeowners who don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth, to have the value of their dwelling increased, while the poor wretches stuck in properties that they want to flee in the east see their lives and options narrowing down to a bleak place called the thin edge of the wedge?
Yes, there's a lot of unhappiness, bickering and sniping as the leaves go through their autumn paces and drop to the ground to clog streets too abandoned to be ever swept again.
It's been Seismic City for the past three weeks culminating (fingers crossed) with the 5.2 on Friday afternoon turning us back momentarily into quivering jitterbugs.
Oh well, what can you do but straighten the pictures on the walls and slap a CD on of the late, great Donna Summer, turning Last Dance up loud and think of the happy force she was in the world, a hot-stuff lady who brought a lot of loins together both on and off the dance floor with her joie de vivre and voice.
The city is an old hand at responding to the quakes, as the authorities snap into well- oiled action and the red zone is briskly shut down to protect the 1400 people who work there, to be reopened for tear-down business as usual the next day.
One almost expects to hear an air raid siren go off as we repair to the inner sanctums of our own private bunkers and quake shelters, be they psychological or structural, to regroup and wait expectantly, like callow students, for our seismic exam results.
Even though I'm all for the demolition of Christ Church Cathedral I felt a little sorry for the rally organised to save it because it was held a day after last week's big shake when more stone fell from the cathedral.
Just before 2.30pm, the kickoff time for the rally, I biked past Cranmer Square to see what seemed like a small turnout, no doubt due in part to a temperature so Arctic that it made your face feel as if it if had been given a good slap.
The future of the cathedral has split the province, with the latest poll more than narrowly in favour of the demolition as we hear of campaigners poised to throw millions at its restoration.
The badly damaged building has become a symbol for all the grumpiness and frustrations of the city and while it remains, is like the Grand Old Duke of York's men who, "when they were up, they were up, and when they were down, they were down, and when they were only halfway up, they were neither up nor down".
There is a strange expectancy that buildings, unlike we mere mortals, must last and live forever but even the most iconic is simply a form of shelter as vulnerable as the fragile bones that hold our brittle frames together in the brief time we have here.
All things must pass.
- © Fairfax NZ News