Sunday, June 24, 2012


On Tuesday I got a letter from the council: "Your apartment building has been identified as potentially earthquake prone. The IEP (Initial Evaluation Process) for the building has been assessed with a score of less than 34." In fact it scored just 21, i.e. it only meets 21% of current standards, whatever that actually means. What it means for me is that I could be faced with a massive bill and an unsellable apartment (except at a knock-down price) until the strengthening works are carried out, if they are deemed necessary (I'll find out in December whether the building is an official earthquake risk).

Obviously I wasn't a happy bunny when I got this news. I thought I'd done my homework before I bought this place - the council told me it would be exempt from any assessment because the apartments were built in 1996-97, well after the 1976 cut-off. But now they say that the original building was constructed in about 1960 and was extended, converted into apartments and strengthened (inadequately in their view) in the nineties. The LIM (which I paid for last December) even says: "Year first constructed - 1990-1999". I emailed the chairman of the body corp committee who seemed as shocked as me. He thought I might have a valid claim with the council. To be honest when I bought this flat I was more concerned about the cost of strengthening work, which I might be faced with now, than the actual earthquake. Let's face it, if the fault line that runs through Wellington ruptures and we get a massive quake, heaps of houses and flats here will be toast. If you were really worried about earthquakes you wouldn't live in Wellington.

Tuesday and Wednesday weren't my best days (mental health-wise) but I improved towards the end of the week. Yesterday is a day I'd like to forget however. The atrocious weather made it a good day for online poker but I suffered my worst ever one-day loss (just over US$200). That didn't put me in the best of moods for a night out with Giuseppe at the Southern Cross (an enormous bar only a few minutes walk away, but as I'd never walked past it I never knew it was there). He brought two female friends along, and we listened to some music put on by the Alliance Française (which I used to be a member of); to be honest most of the music washed over me and I was glad we only stayed there two hours which seems to be my limit. Last night I almost wished I was back in Auckland, despite my misgivings about the place. At least I knew people who I felt comfortable around. And I wouldn't have bought an earthquake-prone building had I stayed there: they don't have many earthquakes and I couldn't have afforded a property anyway.

Talking of French music, at the waterfront market today two French blokes (with an accordion and a guitar) were playing this song by La Rue Ketanou (I preferred their version of it to the YouTube one).

Mum and Dad are currently in Turkey, on an organised two-week tour. I didn't think that would be their cup of tea, least of all Dad's, but they're enjoying it even if they're finding it a bit hot. They've emailed me using a Turkish keyboard which (like their alphabet) contains two I's, one with a dot and one without. İ don't thınk they quıte knew whıch İ to use where, so theır emaıl came out lookıng a lıttle weırd.

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