– Aranui, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

I was sitting in my chair by our fireplace having lunch after returning home from my morning job. I was thinking about what I needed to do, hang out the washing, get petrol for the car and we would need to get groceries that night.

At 12.51 life changed forever.

A terrifying thumping reared up through the floor and the shaking started. I remember I shouted “Oh god” and tried to run for our kitchen, as I got under the archway the chimney fell onto the roof and the force threw me over. The cupboards were open and china and glass were smashing all over the floor as I scrambled into the corner crying.

As I huddled against the wall I really thought this could be it for me and the house, I yelled to our dog to come, she shot into the kitchen just as the shelving collapsed and I grabbed her collar and held her next to me.

Once the shaking stopped we got outside and I saw the chimney lying on the roof, just above the space where I had been sitting. I have never sat in that corner again even though the chimney is now gone.

My most harrowing thought was that my partner was somewhere in town and I had no idea where. I had switched on my work radio and the reports that stuck in my head said many buildings down, many people feared dead.

I cried and I prayed. “Please let mousie be ok, If she’s trapped let her remember I love her and I will get there as soon as I know where there is”

Not knowing is the worst thing.

Then a text, our friend Claire “We are ok and lisa is with us”.
Thank you Thank you Thank you.
You will come home to me again.

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