Earthquakes! You kinda get used to them living in New Zealand. We’re a topsy turvy country and it doesn’t help being on the Pacific Rim (which seems to be alive again in Indonesia).

I’ve had a lot of experience dealing with earthquakes, mainly the Christchurch/Canterbury sequence of 2010 and 2011 and the Seddon earthquakes in 2013.

But nothing could compare to the Kaikoura earthquake that hit the Marlborough region just after midnight on 14 November 2016 when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck.

I’m not going to go into the earth shattering (pardon the pun!) detail here other than to say I hung on for dear life for two minutes as the house rocked, shuddered, swayed and jolted. Not only was there an incredible amount of movement during this earthquake, the noise was deafening as things crashed and tumbled to the floor.

An hour are the earthquake and the aftershocks had settled down a little, my heart had returned to a normal heartbeat and the electricity had come back on, I took a tentative look around the house to reveal the damage. Glass was swept up, a scared cat summoned back inside and I ventured into my home office.

Now my office is also my library, which I need to explain further. I love books. They are all lovingly displayed in a multitude of bookcases around my home. But sometime, somehow I ran out of bookcases so I started to use the empty wardrobe in the office.

As I ventured into the office all I could think about was: what had happened to my books? Pre-earthquake they were stacked up on a shelf in order. When I ran out of shelf room, piles accumulated on the floor of the wardrobe.

I started to slide the wardrobe door open. It was jammed. I could only get the door open a teeny-weeny bit. OK, I’m thinking. This is not looking good. I tried the other end of the wardrobe sliding doors. The door slid back a little, only to stop. A ha! Some success. Inch by inch I managed to get the door slid back enough to poke my head in. Oh lordy! What a mess! Just about all the books on not only the shelf but the ones stacked up on the floor had toppled over. There were books everywhere, lying every which way. From what I could see, some had taken a battering with covers bent back and screwed up pages. Aw! I could feel their pain.

There was going to be a lot of work required to get everything tidied up and back into order. I cringed. I’d always thought I should pencil number my books on the inside cover so that if they ever got out of order I’d quickly be able to get them back in order.

The task of tidying up seemed insurmountable and in the back of my mind I knew that I could very well be wasting my time getting everything right as we could have more aftershocks, more tumbling-down books.

So I decided to leave it for a week. It was just as well as, yes, we had more earthquakes.

After a bit I felt it was safe enough to venture back into the wardrobe. I could barely get my head in through the door as books were jammed up against the runners. And here’s what I saw:

But with a bit of coaxing and manoeuvring, I managed to clear a path so I could get the wardrobe doors fully open.

As I looked onto the shelf, my beloved Kermit the Frog had been squashed by my books. And he’d been there for almost two weeks! Poor Kermit!

I pushed my books to the side, straightened up his skinny arms and legs while all the while his smile still remained.

Kermit had had a narrow escape. I vowed to look after my green friend much better. He still keeps watch over my books in the wardrobe, but I’ve placed him in a corner, up high, protected by my Pink Panther. Who knew that pink panthers and green frogs got on so well?

I still haven’t got around to numbering my books. I’m too busy reading them!

Does anybody else number their books or have a system that if anything happens your books can be put back exactly in the right place? (I guess if you have an e-reader you don’t have this problem!)

Does anybody have something that guards their books?

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