Ferdi had appeared in our bed, like he does most nights, just before 4.30am so I was half awake when the earthquake hit. I grabbed Ferdi and rolled off the bed shoving him underneath with the shoes and old tissues then screamed at Jamie as he tripped and rolled through the house to grab Crispin from his bed and shelter in a doorway. Aftershock after aftershock shook the world, there was no moment when we could come out, dust ourselves off and declare it to be over so we stayed put. After a while I realised I'd only got my head and shoulders under the bed so my bum was at risk from falling debris, my boobs hurt from lying on them and I couldn't move my arms enough to wriggle forwards or sideways.
When we finally did emerge we found our way to the kitchen was blocked by a fallen bookcase though the strong smell of cognac told us there was at least one breakage out there and, when we peered outside there was a chimney across our driveway. Even so it didn't really occur to me that this was anything big and, for the first hour or so, I assumed that we'd just be adding a bit of extra cleaning to our regular Saturday activities. Slowly, through the information on, first, Twitter, and then, National Radio it dawned on me that what we were dealing with was pretty small beans and that it was going to be a while before regular anything was going to be happening.
We've been very lucky in what we didn't lose and, for the most part, I'd consider us to be largely unperturbed. We're not camping out under the table or running away to parts less shaky. True, the kids have been even less co operative than usual and they have gleefully taken the opportunity to commandeer the parental bed but they are sleeping and they're not tearful or jumpy. I am, therefore, disturbed when my facade of coping-just-fine slips, when momentarily losing sight of a child leaves me in a blind panic or a collapsed but still tasty cake results in floods of tears.
In truth the past 18 months or so feels like an exercise in the universe repeatedly asking me to handle "just one more thing" and me just scraping enough reserves together to keep my head above water but I'm starting to wonder if I'm going to reach the point where that "one more thing" is one thing too many and what happens then?