Of all the survival stories emerging from Christchurch’s devastating earthquake the one I love the most is Helen Guiney’s.
Helen had just got back from lunch when the deadly 6.1 quake struck and the building she worked in collapsed. For 21 hours she lay trapped in total darkness not knowing what had happened or what would happen.
What kept her going was the voice of her colleague Jim Faithfull who was lying somewhere in the rubble nearby. It was Jim who made contact with rescuers and was able to tell them that Helen was still alive and direct them towards her voice to save her.
Nearly a full day later, after passing in and out of consciousness and assuming she would die, she instead emerged in the arms of her rescuers out into the daylight to see her husband’s beaming, grateful, hopeful face.
And that’s not even the best bit.
The best bit is that Helen still had her handbag strapped over her shoulder which solves a lifelong question for me about whether the perfect handbag has a shoulder strap or not.
Now I know.
It definitely does.
“They say a woman and her handbag should not be parted,” Helen Guiney said on TV3 and I will remember that forever.
Her shoes, however, were a different story. They were taken from her after the rescue and she never saw them again.
I’m not a shoe person, but this could be a good case for lockable ankle straps.