I want to thank Nicky Brankin, my newly discovered distant relative for a fantastic afternoon yesterday. People who have known me a very long time on the internet, will know that I once blogged, on Yahoo 360 and then on the Multiply site, stories of my NZ settler great great great grandparents Hannah and James Wright, and then their daughter, Sarah Ann Wright, and her husband John Glynan. Sarah and John Glynan had many children, one daughter was Mary Ann whom I am descended from, and Susannah, her elder sister, whom Nicky descends from.
Anyhow, unbeknownst to me, Nicky, who was nursing over in Aussie back then, was reading the Hannah and James Wright story on Multiply, and of course realised I was writing about her several times great grandparents also. She printed the story from the site and last week she rang me and let me know she was coming down to Christchurch and we arranged to meet.
But in between, and just before she was about to leave, Aotearoa/NZ clearly feeling a little uncomfortable, decided to have a big stretch and a 7.8 earthquake, felt over a huge part of New Zealand, happened at 2 minutes past midnight, 14/11/2016.
And NZ is once more thrown into turmoil.
For Nicky, her first problem was, would the interisland ferry run, with docks broken. In the end the ferry did run, and she crossed over Cook Strait, and then stayed the night in Blenheim. And then she had to find her way to Christchurch now that the normal route through Kaikoura was completely destroyed.
Her only choice was state highway 63 which leads into the mountains via the Wairau Valley (where my brother and sister in law now live, unbeknownst to Nicky), deeper in past St Anaud, Murchison and finally to Springs Junction (I hope I have that right). Until Murchison Nicky thought she might have to travel all the way to Westport and down the West Coast to Arthur's Pass. But in Murchison, a couple of friendly bikies told her the Lewis Pass was now open again and so down she drove to Christchurch to the home of her Christchurch friends.
All that would have added at least another 3 hours to her trip which is going to be the reality now for everyone travelling to Picton from Christchurch until that Kaikoura link is restored and that may take months if not years.
I always use far too many words to tell a simple thing and it just goes to show how you can make a long story out of a simple thing if you are motivated enough. The real point here is to say thank you to Nicky for being so kind about my stories, for taking the trouble to make contact, for the lovely lunch and great conversation yesterday, and I hope we become friends.