I lost my words for a while

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Hello world.  I read an opinion piece in the The Press recently relating to the desperation being experienced by some of my fellow Canterbrians living in our earthquake ravaged city.  It resonated with me for several reasons, it is sometimes very hard to live in this city.  But I was also taken by the reference made by the author  to having lost his words for years.

I’ve not been very active on this wee part of my world for many many months.  It is not that I have lost my words.  If anything I am far too verbose on far too many occasions.  It is more that the words I wanted to record those times I found myself sitting in front of this screen on this site were not happy ones.  I have tapped out several rants, a few self pitying monologues and then thankfully deleted them.  Some of the pieces were about people who I feel have let me down, some about politicians, others about the terrible traffic, none were important in the scale of things. There are far too many negative things on the internet.  I try to contribute positively.

For those interested, and logic suggests that if you are reading these words that means you, I have been busy transitioning from my registry world to my new role.  I have been learning a whole new language around the project I am working on; the building of the Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct.  I have met a collection of new and interesting people  all of whom have added to my understanding of the emergency services world and that of the justice sector.

I have got used to not being at airports and in being in my smaller world of Christchurch.  It is as the article I referred to above reports, a bipolar place these days.  Some mornings (usually the sunny ones) I find myself brimming with hope and happiness for the city and the rebuild.  New buildings, positive people, remnants of the old city, the sea and our beloved parks and river all encourage this feeling.  Other days the traffic jams, the road works, the flooding, the bureaucracy, the personality politics and the overwhelming size of the challenge conspire to leave me empty, tired and deflated at the sheer scale of it all.

Apart from the new job the other major change in life has been seeing our first born head off to university. Annie opted for the University of Otago and is enjoying the adventure of her first year studying law there.  She is in a hall of residence (Arana College) and  is fully immersed in university life already.  It has made for a different home feel with only Molly and Katie with us.  We miss Annie greatly but understand this is the whole growing up thing (for her) and growing old thing (for me!).  It has also provided the opportunity for some great road trips and weekends in that beautiful city.  It has allowed for the reconnection with good friends there also.

Molly is busy studying diligently for her year eleven NCEA credits.  Interspersed with our shared enjoyment of Miranda and Sherlock of course.

Katie is captivated by the current craze around rainbow bands and is proficient and making all sorts of interesting and challenging versions of them.

Katherine and I marked twenty five years of marriage in March.  It was a lovely milestone and celebrated in our typically understated way.  It is a significant occasion and we have shared a great deal on this planet together so far.

I’ve been doing a fair bit of reading.  I had never been a great fan of biographies preferring the escapism of fiction but I have found myself enjoying a few recently.  I particularly enjoyed “The Mighty Totara: The Life and Times of Norman Kirk  as with many biographies of successful people it left me wondering about the mark such people leave on the world and what if any my generation will add.

I’ve enjoyed a few good movies recently, my great refuge from reality.  Of note was “The Grand Budapest Hotel  and also Nebraska and Mud (in part because I was in Arkansas last year).

For the first time ever I missed a Corporate Registers Forum conference.  In Rio, Brazil of all places.  I had two invitations to attend.  It is very satisfying to reflect on the maturity of that wonderful organisation and to know that it is in such great hands moving forward.  I’ve decided not to travel to Milwaukee for the IACA conference on the 18th of May.  My commitments at the Ministry of Justice are such that travel would be problematic over that period.  I may yet get to return to things registry once again, there are plenty of ideas still to be shared.  I miss my registry friends.

I was rocked somewhat at the recent death of our neighbour.  Bob died in the back of an ambulance up his driveway on Easter Monday.  It was a lovely sunny day and we were in our garden pottering about when I noticed an ambulance outside his property.  I went upstairs to see what was going on and witnessed him receiving CPR in the back of the vehicle.  It was all rather surreal and for me bought back memories of watching my mum experience similar intervention.  I took some comfort from the fact that his adult son was at his side, holding his hand.  Bob was in his late eighties but still it was a sad and sudden loss for all concerned.  It left me once again contemplating the fragility of this whole existence.

I’ve taken a particular shine to a statue of Captain James Cook RN.  One of my heroes. It is located in Victoria Square and I walk past it most days on my way to work.  It is one of three I have seen.  The others were in London, England and Victoria, British Columbia.  He was a truly remarkable man.





Always trying to evolve, I am trying to be quieter and to listen more.  It’s hard. I do go on a lot.  Someone commented recently when I teased them about not getting an invite to some drinks that I would have dominated the evening.  Further proof I need to shut up more often.

I’ve been listening to Jackson Browne a fair bit and love the line in his “Barricades of Heaven” that speaks to the journey in us all – “I was just trying to hear my song”.  I’m still trying to figure out mine.

I am hoping however that my written laryngitis is over and that I might, through this poorly structured ramble, record a little more of the every day thinking of a person about whom a book will never be penned.

Which is just as well as no bugger would buy the bloody thing anyway.






  1. Thanks for sharing Justin. I love the line that so aptly sums up my approach to conversation ‘how will I know what I think until I’ve heard what I’ve said?’ It truly would have been a bloody boring night without you. Listen yes. But not to the critics. No one wins when you dim your light lest others feel dull.

    1. Thanks Jess, it really must be raining in Europe if you’re forced to sit inside and read my drivel 🙂 have fun! Loving the blog and Facebook sharing.

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