Bo­ogy­ing with the best in big shake


Is there such a thing as a be­fore-shock? About half an hour be­fore last Tues­day’s earth­quake a pic­ture frame dived off a shelf, knocked down a glass con­tainer (which didn’t sur­vive) and pul­verised a serv­ing plate. In our shop that was a far more dra­matic event than the ac­tual quake. We have heard on the grapevine that mer­chan­dise fell off the shelves in a lo­cal depart­ment store, but we were lucky. A set of wildlife DVDs took to the air in a bid for free­dom and one vol­un­teer al­most got locked in the lit­tlest room when a pel­met fell across the door.

The build­ing we have been for­tu­nate to rent for seven years is a ven­er­a­ble tim­ber build­ing that boo­gies with the best of them in a good shake. What we have to take a closer look at is which shelves might need an­chor­ing to walls. The char­ity trade is for­tu­nate in that we don’t have boxes of mer­chan­dise above the dis­plays like some super­mar­kets and we gen­er­ally try to have heavy stuff at the bot­tom in good Kiwi com­mon sense pre­pared­ness.

Pots and pans are around knee height. Bread mak­ers about the same. We have a few too many fil­ter cof­fee mak­ers (hint, hint) so some are a bit higher up, but ba­si­cally they hud­dle around waist height.

The ex­cep­tion, (and isn’t there al­ways one?) is books. If a book needs to go un­der “Cook­ing” we can’t very well put the small ones up here and the big ones down there. We do what we can to min­imise the risk. In a big shake the rugby books will tackle you at hip height and chil­dren’s books will bite your an­kles but the en­cy­clopae­dias are em­ployed as bal­last in the bric-a-brac depart­ment.

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