'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menorumbelatoring; When The Earth Moved For Me

What a week. I heard about tornadoes, earthquakes, flash flooding, rail disasters... and let's not forget the small matter of COVID.

Indeed, what a year. Everyone is going through something. One day we'll look back and reminisce. 

But anyway, to the title. On hearing about the earthquake over in North Carolina, Bertie Boffin's Gail remarked that she had never experienced one and had a curiosity about it, being as how she is a geology boffin herself. I, in return, remarked that I HAD experienced one.

Not in the direct, buildings on my head kind of way. In the swaying and swinging of the earth way.

It was 1989. I had not long emigrated to the Great Down Under Parts and was thoroughly enjoying learning the Australian life. Standing, as I was, in my bedroom in Turramurra, brushing my hair, I felt all of a sudden woozy. Only I realised it wasn't within me but external. The floor had shifted.

There was a rumble, like thunder, and creaking, as the house shifted. Through the other end, there was a crash or two and mum yelling, "what's happening?!"

I dashed through to find two of her pottery ornaments in smithereens and several other items well out of place. Mum herself had been caught wrong-footed and was lying on the carpet - luckily missing hitting her head on the coffee table.

We had no idea, never having experienced such. Only that evening, switching on the six o'clock news, did we discover there had been a massive quake centred in the Newcastle area of NSW. It was pretty devastating. It turned out that our home was right on the fault line. Not quite the San Fernando fault lines, but significant. 

My main memory was of thinking that I was all of a sudden on a ship at sea. And seasick. I am grateful not to have experienced more than that. It was quite enough, ta.

Earthquake-proofing Australian buildings - Australian Geographic


  1. Oh my stars YAM that was way too close for comfort. I can only imagine the fright you felt hearing and feeling then seeing the NSW news. The train derailment in Aberdeenshire was just so tragic...no way anyone knew what was ahead on the track.
    Shortly after I retired 2011 Madi and I were in the office..the keyboard tray shook, I thought for sure I was having a health issue, looked at her she was looking at me. Later we discovered there was a 2.0 quake up near Washington, DC.
    First and only for me.

    I guess you and A are either at the Hutch or on the way. I hope Dad was doing well before your departure.
    Hugs Cecilia

  2. Wow. Quite an experience! The nearest I ever came to an earthquake was working in a tall office building hard by the harbour in Aberdeen. Every now and then, one of the oilfield supply boats would misjudge the distance to the harbour wall and crash into it, and if your were in one of the offices on an upper floor you felt the building rock for a few seconds.
    Hope all's well at the Hutch.
    Cheers, Gail.

  3. Wowsers! I understand the feeling. We either have "rollers" which reminding of floating on the surface of the ocean...except your feet are down, or jolters....where things give a good shake(or jolt). It's a scary feeling for sure!

  4. That must have been very frightening. Our human brother experienced a pretty big one when he was in college in the LA area. Fortunately he didn't have any injury or losses, but it was still scary.

    Woos - Lightning, Misty, and Timber

  5. We've had a couple small earthquakes in our area that I've felt. Once we were at home and saw the dinning room chandelier start swaying and our dogs were a bit confused by how it felt. The second time I was at work in a meeting and we all looked around the room and asked if we all felt that. After checking the news our guess that it was an earthquake was substantiated. None of them were more than slight rumbles and we never had any destruction in our homes. Still it is a rather odd feeling.

  6. There was one here in NE Ohio in 1989. Not the same one. Ha. But the pictures danced on the walls, my chair scooted and I hear the freight train coming! I learned that at home, two cats made it through a two inch opening simultaneously.

  7. 2020 been some ride and also 1968 America was whirl wind.

  8. Kiwis seem to be fairly used to being lightly shaken on a regular basis. Big shakes less so. Here is Greece we get rocked from time to time with a biggish one sending the office (we are 7th floor) swaying last July. I could tell Greeks get the same training in school that Kiwis get, we all did the same thing in unison. (F)

  9. oh that is a horrible moment... and we are so helpless , no one can do something....it seems that we are far away from controlling our planet, it is mightier than we, even with all our smart inventions

  10. That must have been quite scary, even more so after the fact probably. I have fortunately never felt an earth quake, although once there did seem to be one. Not a big one, but lots of rumbling and shaking. Turns out there was a bunch of army tanks going along the road about 100 meters from our house. Scary for a 15-year old though...


  11. I have never experienced an earthquake and hope that I never do. Our hearts always go out to those who do.

  12. OMW! I have never felt one and hope never to feel one and can't imagine how it felt when the world started shifting under your feet. As a child I was terrified of earthquakes because I always thought that one day I would be walking along and the Earth would open a big hole and I would fall down in it and not be able to get out. I saw all the things you saw and shudder to think what our world is coming to

  13. I am glad you escaped that experience none worse for wear. We had one that was more significant back maybe about 10 years ago. I remember because I was at work and my instinct when I realized that was not a big truck driving by was to run around the centre making sure all the staff and children were safe. Never occurred to me maybe I should be under my desk.

  14. We don't really get them here, thankfully. It has been a crazy year.
    Izzy and I just iced Mamma's cake. Caitlin is 41 Sunday. I took the grandies swimming this a.m. and I am baffed!

  15. As more fracking is being done earthquakes are happening in odd places in the US. Areas where no evidence exists of fault lines. Glad you and your mum were safe all those decades ago. namaste, janice xx

  16. That must have been so scary! I didn't know that NSW was earthquake prone.

  17. Hi Yam - that must have been a great shock ... I felt earth tremors in Johannesburg - in the mine workings ... and occasionally here in the UK - but the thought of a major one would scare me rigid - so glad it wasn't worse ... take care - Hilary


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