Look what the quake dropped in...

By Anna Leask

Betty McGrail wants to get rid of this boulder. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Betty McGrail wants to get rid of this boulder. Photo / Sarah Ivey

How do you get a two-tonne boulder out of your living room?

Don't ask Betty McGrail - she's still trying to work that one out.

Mrs McGrail, 80, walked into her living room after the Christchurch earthquake to find a "pretty big" chunk of rubble partially embedded in her living-room floor.

The boulder, the size of a dining-room table for four, had hurtled down the Port Hills and smashed through a telephone pole and the wall of her Heathcote Valley house before settling on the floor right beside her favourite chair.

She was home when the quake struck, but fled down the road when her chimney started to implode.

"There were boulders and rocks coming down the hill from all different areas," she said.

"They came down the hill fast, bouncing. They came from everywhere with a 'boom, boom, boom'. When I went back to my house this big boulder was in the sitting room.

It's sitting there quite nicely, like it's happy to be there. And no one knows how to get it out."

Mrs McGrail has lived in her home for 45 years and runs a stonefruit orchard on site. Nothing else in the house was damaged - not one picture has come off the wall and not a single glass or ornament broke.

"But I've got this boulder. It smashed through the wall and left a big hole. It came down the hill and broke a telephone pole on its way. It landed right by my chair. It would have given me a bit of a fright if I'd been sitting there.

"It must have bounced over the neighbours' fence because it didn't break it. Everyone who sees it just shakes their head at it. It seems to be at home there."

Mrs McGrail does not want to keep the boulder; in fact, she cannot wait to be rid of it.

But no one has been able to work out how to shift it.

"Somebody said to take the top off and turn it into a table. But I don't like it much," she said with a laugh.

"Someone said dig a hole and push it through, someone else said take the roof off and lift it out and someone else said they'd have to drill it. These men have all these good ideas, but no one's been able to shift it."

Unlike Phil Johnson, who has named the boulder that smashed through his Christchurch home Rocky and is auctioning it on Trade Me, Mrs McGrail is quite keen to see the back of her own piece of quake memorabilia.

"Oh, I don't want to give it a name. I don't think I want to see it again."

- NZ Herald

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