We got let off work early on Friday, which sounds ideal until you can’t contact your family and can’t get home.
I was in On Trays Petone at 2.30pm on Friday afternoon when the earthquake struck and I’ve never been so scared in my life. Glass bottles flew off shelves, the little concrete building rolled about and as I made a lame attempt to hunker down by the cheese cabinet I wondered whether the big curved front of it was glass or plastic.
Mum was in Wellington that day – under the table at L’affare – and Tom had just stepped out for some fresh air so his phone was on his desk. Straight afterwards none of the phone lines worked and I wondered if Wellington was still there or whether Tom was squashed or whether Mum had any idea what to do.
Soon after the texts from the train came – there were no train services and no buses. I camped out in The Dowse with Courtney and managed to organise Mum and Tom via text into getting a rental car and coming to pick me up.
Tom found Paul the train guard directed traffic so picked him up too.
I was on dinner duty (takeaway pizzas and shooting star lemonades from Café Reka at the Dowse) and soon we were all making our way home at a pretty smart pace.
From the time I left work until home was about four and a half hours and boy was it good to arrive.
We also might have saved the Featherston Railway Station from certain doom because as we drove in to drop off Paul at his car he noticed the heater had been left on so went off to call it in like the good citizen (and volunteer fire-fighter) that he is.
This morning on the train someone told me that if I can get to Te Marua (past Upper Hutt) then you can hitch from there and it’s really easy to get a ride home. Hopefully I never have to test that out.