I was enjoying a very happy lunch with a friend of ours today when two pesky earthquakes came along and spoilt it. These are the first earthquakes I’ve felt since leaving Christchurch. They were little – Mag. 3.1 followed by a Mag. 3.9. I felt both. No-one else in our house felt the first and immediately after it I asked, “Did you feel that?”, and got blank stares so just assumed I was being paranoid. We all felt the second one.

When they start,  you have a mental debate with yourself: is this going to be big? should I try to grab the kids or just drop and cover where I am? But before you come to any decision the whole thing is over and you realise it was only small. But in that first instant, before you know how big it’s going to be, the adrenaline kicks in sending heart rate and blood pressure soaring. It takes about an hour afterwards for everything to return to normal. How crap is that? People who are what I call earthquake virgins, and have never felt a big earthquake or any earthquake at all, don’t have this adrenaline response.

Imagine you’re someone who is terrified of snakes and the house you live in sits above a giant nest of them. Sometimes they slither into your house. You have no idea how they get in or when they will. But they come when you least expect it. That’s what it’s like for me. Only I’m terrified of earthquakes but would be quite happy to have a nest of snakes beneath the house, especially if they ate the family of rats we found living there recently.