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Thursday, 1 December 2016

Things that go Thump in the Night

Did the Earth Move for You?

Last week, at 12:04 on Monday morning, we had a wee Earthquake.
For any Kiwi or even Japanese readers of m'blog, an explanation of what being in a major earthquake feels like would be superfluous, but for most others, let me say


When the first trembling started, it was enough to wake me up, but it wasn't too bad.  The worst was when my Beloved hit me.

She thought that I was "mucking about" or just turning over in bed by bouncing on the mattress, so she does what she normally does when she gets upset with me (a more than rare occurrence) she hits me. 

I've still got the bruise.

However, back to the earthquake.

The movements began to escalate, accompanied by a baso-profundo rumble.  The house started to sway, we could hear the joints creaking and moaning, and IT DIDN'TSTOP.  It went on for bloody ages.

My Beloved began to fart (a sure sign of semi-terminal stress), the dog began to howl, alarms were going off all around, and I said "Goodness" "Isn't this exciting"

My Beloved hit me again.

It stopped (The hitting as well as the quake)

I went back to sleep, and slept right through the next, slightly smaller one at about 2:30am.


Next morning at school, a bit earlier than usual, around 6:30am, just to check the bloody place was still there.

Nuova Lazio High School is built in the slum Garden Suburb of Nuova Lazio (funny that, must be a coincidence) which happens to be built on a drained swamp in the middle of an ancient caldera, so when the shaky Gods of Aoteroa start feeling their oats, nobody's quite sure whether the whole place will disappear into a stinking 200m deep quagmire,

or be blown to Kingdom F*cking Come.

It does lead to some trepidation amongst the citizenry.

This time however, all seemed OK, no obvious damage, so the Boss-Man (not me, I hasten to add, I'm just an assistant Boss) said the school would be open for business (Teaching and Learning ....HAHAHHAHAHAHA) that day.

We are having our big end-of-year exams, run by the NZQA (my job to organise and administer) and set in our Auditorium.  When I had a look in there, it looked OK, apart from a couple of big, free-standing wooden back-of-stage thingies, which had fallen down and crushed a couple of desks. (Luckily, the quake was in the middle of the night.  If it had happened during an exam, we would probably have lost a couple of students)

We might have had a squashed student

So the exams went on.

We got blasted by parents who thought we should have closed the school.
We got praised by parents who were gratified at our efforts to allow the students to complete their exams.

Some days, you just can't win.

I had to shut the Auditorium that afternoon, as there were some tiles hanging loose in the ceiling.
We all saw them, but thought they were polystyrene, and no threat. 


One fell down at lunchtime, and it proved to be made of a fibre-reinforced plaster, backed by plywood, and each tile weighed about 30kg.

So we shut the bloody death trap before someone got killed, and moved the exams into some other rooms, displacing Richard {of RBB], but that doesn't matter, it's only Music.


  1. Well I'm glad you and your missus both felt the earth move - that never does harm in a marriage. I would have liked to see the big straddling ladies during the quake, possibly from a reclining position.

    1. That's about the only time the Earth has moved for quite a few moons.
      As far as the big straddling ladies are concerned, they're positively anorexic compared to some of our Tongan girls.

  2. I'm afraid there's a small error in your post. Nuova Lazio is not an old caldera, just a (possibly bottomless) swamp. The nearest calderas (calderae?) are hundreds of kilometres north of here.

    1. Yes and it wouldn't really explode! But that was quite a neat idea. Don't get me wrong.

    2. You have your little fantasies ex-Clive, I've got mine.
      Can't you just imagine the heartfelt joy at seeing NLHS going into orbit?
      As long as your in it at the time of course.

    3. And Geremy, you'll never know until we try.

    4. I don't seem to be able to post my own comment so I will hitch a ride with the gentlemen above.

      Was the missus apologetic about repeatedly banging you, so to speak, once she realised the seriousness of the situation?

      In any case, I have missed your prose and its always stimulatingly apposite illustrations.

    5. SWMBO didn't exhibit any remorse. Even when I showed her the bloody great bruise on my arm and hand. She just sort of sniffed and looked away.

      It's nice to be back, but things seem a lot quieter than they used to be.

  3. It was sure one crazy scary week. Earthquakes Monday morning, Floods Tuesday, followed by many schools closing and offices and shopping centres. Some things never to be the same again as they are now being demolished. Putting volcanic activity into the scenario well who knows? New geysers are sprouting up in Rotorua. For awhile there some of us thought the apocalypse was coming. For many of us we think it has started since Trump got elected and all this started only days later. Might just stay in bed for the rest of the year.

  4. All of the multi-floor schools had to shut until the engineers had a look, but being single storey buildings, we didn't. The aftershocks are almost worse, never knowing if another big one is one the way.

  5. I'm glad you're safe. Maybe God is punishing the world for Brexit and Trump. We've had some bad wild fires here in the Eastern US. No earthquakes though.

    1. Thanks P_C, but what's wrong with Brexit? Trump I can understand unlimited punishment, but leaving the EU? A minor hiccup. We've been hearing about the wildfires, not nice, though I'm surprised you're having them at this time of the year.

    2. I know it's hard to remember everything TSB, but you should have reminded P_C that God doesn't punish!

    3. I was being kind.
      How can a non-existent thing punish?
      But everyone is entitled to their own beliefs


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