Thanks to Net, who asked about my parents and how they are fearing in Christchurch. It was a great Freudian Slip. I was thinking yesterday that if we could have a global image of fear and grieving there would be hotspots in Christchurch, Yemen and Libiya.
My parents are OK. My mum had an adventure she'd rather have done without.
She volunteers in an op shop that was hit fairly hard with the quake. All I know is that the window imploded right where she normally sits. They got out onto the street and stood and watched the minister's church opposite disintegrate.
I probably shouldn't repeat this, because there are a million and one better stories to tell of selflessness. But the minister was most anxious about his cat and used his mobile phone to find out if it had survived. When he finished mum asked if she could use it to call Dad to find out if he was OK.
His response. 'No, it's a credit phone.'
Mum tried to drive home but soon realised that this wasn't going to happen and she was safer walking. She struggled through the liquifaction, sometimes unable to find the bottom she'd have to haul herself back out. It's a long way home.
Dad was OK, the house a little less so. Doors no longer close, a two metre long five row stretch of bricks fell away. TV's are smashed, the typical mess we're seeing on TV. But nothing compared to many of their friends.
Mum told me today of one friend who lost her husband last year and then sustained a lot of damage to her house in the first quake. Now she has a bundle of clothes and no house. All she wants is her husband.
It's hard to watch it on TV. I see the street names from my childhood. Years ago I climbed to the top of the cathedral just when they gave the bells a work out and leant back on the swaying spire and waited for it to crumble. I've stayed at the YMCA, have a wonderful pair of ampersands I bought at Ballantynes. It seems, at such a distance so unreal. But talking to mum, no less unreal her end either.
I've heard them say on TV, 'earthquakes are a fact of life for New Zealander's' as though they are a daily occurance. Nothing like this has ever happened. Newly demolished 1860s churches testify to this.
I can only recall about five earthquakes and I lived there till I was twenty three. The most remarkable one was leaning on a sliding door eating lunch with my family. I must have been nine or ten. The door began to rattle. I turned around to tell my bloody brothers off, no one there. I turned back to see them riding the wild barbeque table over the patio. It was the kind of thing where you went 'whoa!' and laughed over.
Nothing like watching some huge fellow throwing sandstone blocks off someone trapped beneath. Nor watch the agony of those waiting.
As for the minister. I've advised mum to tell him that it's a credit line to God he's got too and he's used his up.