It was so nice to see you on TV the other week. You were looking well, although it was difficult to see you at times, so many people lining your streets cheering on men in lycra riding impossibly thin seats. I’m glad that the sun shone on you.
It seemed strange at first to see brick and stone houses, to remember how solid they feel, not bending and creaking in the wind as our wooden ones do.
I smiled as familiar sights flash by, laughed at some of the descriptions – the ‘Cote de Jenkins Road’ will forever make me giggle.
I winced at the ‘Cote de Owt-ibridge’ (which I’ve always known as Jawbones Hill) until the commentator read his notes and got it right.
I was even treated to a quick glimpse of Stocksbridge, where I grew up.
I loved the aerial views of the city, the beautiful old buildings, proud and majestic symbols of a long history.
I watched the crowds at the Peace Gardens and knew they wouldn’t be worrying that the ground might start moving, buildings begin to sway and drop chunks of stone onto their heads.
Wellington’s older, buildings are youngsters in your eyes and may not live to your great age.
Many are empty after last year’s earthquake; it will cost billions to ‘quake-proof’ them.
They’re thought unsafe in a country that shakes regularly and remembers the devastation and human cost of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
I saw the City Hall and know that its acoustics (oh, what memories of the music I’ve heard there) will never be threatened because it is unsafe, forcing that grand venue to close, no creating new memories for new generations.
I looked down on offices I’ve worked in where my computer screen never wobbled, every sense on alert in case it didn’t stop, became worse and forced me to dive under my desk; where I parked my car and didn’t feel that frisson of fear that the concrete above me may become my tomb.
Yes, Sheffield, it was wonderful to see you in all your unshakeable glory, the world was watching and, like me, admiring.
Ex-pat or local, you did us all proud.