On September 4 last year I got a phone call from my wife Katherine in Lyttelton (I was in Hawke's Bay) around 3.47am. Her voice was measured but she said that there had been a huge earthquake. I could hear the sound of breaking glass and crockery. She was on her own and four months' pregnant, a pregnancy which we had been told was unlikely.
"Don't worry," she said. "I'm okay."
I phoned her back every five minutes and listened to the radio. The next day I tried to fly back but the airport was closed - thereby confirming that I am the kind of guy who is never where he is needed.
Back on radio at Christchurch's More FM with my breakfast co-host Simon Barnett a few days later, we were on air at 8.10am when the first large aftershock hit. I said "let's get out of here".
Simon stayed at his post, talking to a young girl who was involved in a radio competition and who had younger brothers and sisters in the house.
We spent two weeks on air, acting as a sounding board for distressed people with broken houses and businesses.
Christchurch started cleaning up the mess. Speeches were made. The Canterbury Spirit. Well done the Mayor. The PM does well. Some money comes in. Some areas of town still a no-go zone but things are on the up-and-up.
Most importantly, we were in diminishing (we were told) "after-shock" country. Band Together attracts 160,000 people to celebrate our triumph over adversity.
On February 22 - last Tuesday - I left More FM to get a coffee next door. I waved at some radio station staff having a meeting on the tables outside.
A moment later, I heard a loud BOOM.
In that split second, I knew what was going to happen. The pavement beneath me started to buck. I ran to a vacant lot, the remains of a building knocked down during the September quake. The second wave of the quake hit me and slammed me down on the bricks and rubble. I tried to stand up and it threw me down again.
You f***ing bastard, I thought.
Then I managed to claw my way upright and I looked up at the grey/black sky and the buildings swaying and glass breaking and I shouted, you f***ing c***.
You f***ing bastard.
It was waiting. That nasty malignant force somewhere in the ground below. I was convinced that this was going to be the one to wipe us out. All of us.
And it seemed so trivial. Such an effortless way for the earth to show who's boss. It seemed to be a display of power over our trinkets - our buildings and lives.
Believe me, those clouds overhead were a different colour. I've never seen the colour of death before.
There were rising dust clouds and smoke across the city. The huge and careless hand of the earthquake had swept this and that away and left us in terror.
The people standing on the viewing platform of the ChristChurch Cathedral dropped to their death. The rubble crushed many more below.
The CTV building was wiped out. People taking photos and people applying makeup in studios.
Children from foreign countries, trying hard to learn English. Dead in a strange country.
The cellphone link to Lyttelton was still working. Katherine phoned me. This time she has our miracle identical twin girls in a cot - Kathleen Bridie and Florance Pearl, born 11 02 2011 - a mirror image date.
The ground movement in Lyttelton was three times greater than the movement in the previous quake.
My mother-in-law Yvonne Cottier threw herself across the cot as Katherine tried to get out of the bedroom. Vonne suffers a cut to the head but the babies are all right. Vonne is okay.
I endure a three-hour drive back to Lyttelton with a cracked hip, using wrong feet on pedals.
Another three hours back and on to the safety of Terrace Downs resort at Mt Hutt.
Wairarapa is where Katherine and twins will stay. I go back to Christchurch today and camp out. Radio tomorrow.
The streets in the CBD will be empty apart from the rescue workers. Lyttelton is rooted.
Where do we start?