– Mount Somers, Canterbury, New Zealand

My husband and I were asleep in our bed near Mount Somers when the September 4th quake struck. We have three children, the eldest was dairy farming ten minutes away by car and living with her employers at the time, the middle child was staying with friends in Ashburton and the youngest was asleep in the sleepout attached to the garage.

The first sign of something being wrong was the noise… I was in an extremely deep sleep and I think the noise had been going on a while, I felt my husband stir beside me and we asked each other what was going on at the same time? At that time the bed began shaking, we looked at each other and both said earthquake at the same time. We jumped out of bed and stood in the door frame of our bedroom. The shaking started off quite gently but by the time we had reached the door it was very intense. We were both holding on to a side of the door frame each, the rooms were undulating sideways and backwards and forwards I don’t think we would have been able to stand if we weren’t holding onto the door frame.

The noise got progressively louder and the rocking got worse, I could hear the wall units banging against the walls and the house was making the most amazing creaking sounds. The noise eventually became less but the house was still creaking and the floor was still undulating, it just seemed to go on for ever. The amazing thing was only 3 things fell over, a fly spray container, a picture frame next to the flyspray container on a wall unit in the hallway and a little ornament on the wall unit in the lounge. The worst thing about the earthquake was not having the children at home and not knowing if they were ok.

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