Doug's learning to roll when earth punches
Doug's down but not outPENNY WARDLE
Doug Avery says he is learning you can't fight quakes but you have to learn to roll with the punches.
Mr Avery and his wife, Wendy, have barely slept since a fault, named for the Grassmere area where they farm, ruptured almost beneath their property, on Friday.
The magnitude 6.6 quake, which struck at 2.31pm, smashed almost everything in their home and knocked down two chimneys.
Renowned for their generosity with time and advice, the Averys feel stressed and exhausted but are finding it hard to accept help themselves. Many others in the area are worse off, they insist.
The damage and constant shaking is a double whammy for the Averys and others in the Ward area. About a month ago, 225kmh winds ripped through the district, leaving a mess of fallen trees.
Just before the quake hit, Mr Avery was lifting a massive log off a fence using his tractor.
Mrs Avery was burning storm debris in the garden.
Mr Avery said he thought he had snagged a fence when the shaking started, then, as the ground bucked violently, he dropped the log fearing that the tractor would tip over.
"I felt like my head was exploding, there was stuff going up and down."
The family, including their daughter-in-law, Shelley, and grandchildren Oliver, 5, and Quinn, 3, gathered at home.
Then, alert to the risk of a tsunami they climbed a hill and waited for the all-clear through "terrific aftershocks".
Of all the people who helped, he most appreciated skilled staff from Marlborough Lines who were sensitive and courteous while working to restore power in wet and stormy conditions, Mr Avery said.
Marlborough District Council inspectors checked the Averys' home yesterday morning and declared it safe.
It was hard to live with the knowledge there could still be big quakes to come, Mr Avery said.
"But we still love this area," he said of the Grassmere area where his family has farmed since 1919.
- The Marlborough Express