– Mt Pleasant, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

February 23rd dawn we started cleaning the kitchen the best we could with no water and no power. We gave our neighbours all the food from the fridge and freezer that would go off without electricity and what was left of our bread. We had breakfast with the neighbours and then told them we were going to leave the city.

We left cat food and QTs bowl and asked the neighbours to feed her if she came back. Sad that we couldn’t find her, but we needed to get to Wellington by car and it was going to be a long day.

We left about 8.30am and took our pets to oxford about 90minutes out of Christchurch and then drove to Picton, 350kms approx. 5 hours’ drive. On the way we used bills iPhone to book tickets on the Picton ferry and book us a room in a hotel at wellington for the night. As we drove up the south island we past army vehicles, ambulances and fire trucks all heading towards Christchurch. The strangest sight was the army “tanks” which were LOVs (Light Operational Vehicles) rolling along the road.

Finally made it to the Picton ferry heading for wellington, all kids and hubby and I are fine! House is standing, we have had no power since the quake, no water and a scary drive out of Christchurch – the streets are a mess. Have met all the neighbours and they have helped us greatly, lovely people – we slept in the cars last night as the roof on our house looks very dodgy. I’m so tired, so stressed…sitting on the ferry I was still shaking but thankful we were all safe.

We arrived in Wellington at 10.30pm and went straight to our hotel, Bill stayed up in the hotel business centre answering emails till after midnight. We had a 8am flight to Sydney in the morning and a 4.45am pick up at the hotel to take us to the airport.

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