It was after the Canterbury quakes that I realised how little I really needed of the stuff I had accumulated over the years.

For several weeks, I listened to harrowing tales from traumatised callers on talkback, who had lost almost everything they owned.

Yet no matter how uncertain the future and no matter how hard it was going to be to replace their possessions they always finished with the mantra "but nobody's hurt, nobody we know died, so really we're very lucky".


I came home when I finished my shift at midnight one night and looked around my own