– Southampton Street, Sydenham

When the February 22nd Quake struck my partner and I had not long arrived home after driving on the one way street past the CTV building and then home past the Catholic cathedral on one way Barbadoes street to Sydenham. And I had made the comment that things seemed to be settling down a bit after all the aftershocks from the Sept 4th quake.

How wrong could I be. When it struck I was showing a friend some photos on the computer. We both got thrown across the lounge. Things were falling everywhere. My partner got thrown across the drive. After the Quake struck and one big aftershock we heard about what was happening not far away in town. On a transistor radio then plugged in our old phone and I rang my daughter in Wanganui who’d felt it and was distressed about where we were when it hit. No buildings had fallen in our street and none of our neighbours were injured We decided to walk to see if we could help anyone and if friends were okay. We’d been Civil defence welfare volunteers for years and in the Sept quakes had been part of the team at the Addington raceway. For years we’d heard about the alpine fault and at first thought in Sept the quake was coming from that.

Crossing Milton street on Colombo a big aftershock struck then we saw crowds of people walking out of town and their faces I’ll never forget those faces and that aftershock. People were crying and shocked I was shocked and shaking. Sydenham Park was full of small liquefaction volcanoes A weird sight.

At a friends we had a cup of tea out in the yard on a gas ring All we could hear were sirens Everything was surreal then helicopters later With no power or water we started on our stored supplies and amid aftershocks started our barbecue. Opened tins and sat around at our place with our neighbours It was the night from hell with aftershocks every half hour. Our local countdown caught fire too.

After pleading from out of town family to get out of CHCh we decided to grab some things and the cats and drive to a friends in Nelson where we stayed for a couple of weeks Then we went back…............... after that June 13 one helping get liquefaction off a friends drive. Dec 23 Hung onto the kitchen bench laughing as the big old mixer kept mixing the pavlova through a Quake etc etc. 3 years on living in Wanganui still expect the ground to shake any second and it has a few times

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