This morning lying in bed in a semi-wake state I suddenly became aware of a very odd noise and thought that Martin must have come back from his morning walk (Wendy already having gone to the gym) and popped in to see me for some reason and the noise was him walking along the deck. I would, of course, usually have been up and about at that time but had been later than usual going to bed. The noise continued for a few seconds then the rumble developed into a good shake. It is quite weird lying in bed watching the house shake and rattle around you which is what it did for, I would estimate, about 5 or 10 seconds which seems a very very long time when it's actually happening.
My first thought was 'what am I supposed to do?'. The usual advice is drop into a crouch position but I seemed to recall that if you were in bed then you were supposed to stay there and cover your head with a pillow (assuming there wasn't something likely to fall on you). Given the construction of The Cottage and the fact that it rests on piles the worst that would be likely to happen is that it might move on the piles. There is no masonry and no heavy roofing tiles. Of course by the time all this has gone through my head the quake was over and the shaking had stopped.
The quake was centered 20 k SE of Tokoroa and 94 miles (151 km) NNW of Napier. It was 175 k deep and was magnitude 5.8.
Just before I returned to New Zealand there had been a few quakes felt in the area but in the times over the last eight years I've been in the country I've felt relatively few quakes (perhaps a couple of dozen at most) and only a couple as severe as today.
This has been a big enough event for me to make a post out of it but let me put it into perspective. The people of Christchurch have been having to go through this and a hell of a lot worse for several years now and are living with the aftermath of the earthquake and nearly 11,000 shakes since. (Yes, eleven thousand). To get an idea of what that means go to the Christchurch Quake Map for a real eye opener.