I'm in those funny places that are away from home and somewhere new.
I'm looking at new things, seeing new things, doing old things in new settings. I'm doing a lot of thinking too. There's a lot of long car trips and quite a bit of aimless days. It's a Petrie dish for thinks.
My head has opened up to new thoughts, old thoughts in new ways, old problems that refuse to become new and solveable.
I've spent a week surrounded by the most stunning kind of natural beauty there is, my tiny life squashed down into a tiny corner of the frame.
And then I've come to a city ruined by earthquake, still in tansition. 185 people died here and an unimaginable amount of destruction is still so pervasive. There is so much evidence of the way the city is trying to repair itself - there's art like this installation above that commemorates but loss but also creates a new public life blood.
There are breathtaking monuments like the cardboard cathedral - so hard to capture in photographs! A temporary cathedral to replace the fallen historical landmark and while a more permanent replacement is in the planning. Such a strong statement of the desire to create a space for communion, and such an inventive and creative response to the pressures of the situation.
And while it is in the name of the god of consumption, the shipping container mall is a really impressive space, jumping with life in the very heart of the ruins. We spent a lot of time watching buskers in the sunshine, and it was good.
There's even been some knitting going on. I expected to be filled with yarn lust while here, but to be honest, it's the manufactured knitwear and clothing that's exciting. I'm not a fashion shopper, but there are fantastic quality clothing outlets everywhere here - lots of them seemingly small scale operations. There are really creative designers behind the knitwear and sewn garments. I was also amazed to find a little label tucked behind the Ashford head office in the small town of Ashburton where garments were made in the store in a very domestic yet quality style. Warmed the cockles of my heart.
There's more ahead - more kilometers, more sights, more thinking time. Hopefully more of the gorgeous roadside wildflowers.