Friday, January 13, 2012

Earthquakes again

Right, where'd we got to? I am distracted by Christmas which happens unseasonably in midsummer when Kaiteri is full of Christchurchians on their hols and the cycle paths are full of broken beer bottles. There is a direct correlation. I swept up four the other day on the Mot Bridge clip-on. My father always said I'd end up a road-sweeper, and he was right. (A clip-on is a substantial footbridge attached to the side of a substantialler road bridge, in this case over the Motueka River.)

Christchurch itself has been distracted by an explosion of earthquakes following another Big One a day or two before Christmas. In the Olden Days when I lived in England and earthquakes only happened Abroad, and only to Foreigners, an earthquake was a single big thing that split the ground apart and you were lucky if you didn't fall into it and get squashed when it closed up again. My information was derived from a child's book written from a point of view every bit as ignorant as my own. I have now learnt that all the bits of underground have got to settle themselves back into a comfortable position and this can take - well, so far a good deal longer than a year.

The first Christchurch earthquake was on 4th September 2010, and they held forty-two of them within the next 24 hours.

Within ten days there had been 180 more. In the next six months the town enjoyed a total of 1,167. Mr. Knight tells me that everyone became skilled at rating them, so after a shudder people would beam cheerfully round the office and say to one another 'Oh, just a 3.2' and they were generally right.

Unf. on the 22nd February 2011 an unexpected 6.3 killed quite a lot of people, and over the next ten months there were 756 more quakes. And on 22 December, a couple of weeks ago, another big one knocked down the rest of the Cathedral.

According to my computer, which monitors these things because it is dull and boring and wears a Harris tweed and a check shirt and a green tie and those big chunky Clarks shoes that they used to sell with an advert saying 'New! Foot-shaped design', and it has nothing much else to do, my computer. - Uh? That wasn't a proper sentence. Where was I? - Oh yes, my computer getting an email for every earthquake. - Christchurch has had 182 quakes since 22 Dec, a rate of one every three hours, all of 'em clogging my Inbox because I can't be bothered to click Mark as Read.

Up here in the Nelson region we all felt deprived so we held a rainstorm instead. Just before Christmas. In Upper Takaka thirty-two inches of rain fell in 24 hours. It was quite wet. A number of roads fell off the hillsides and a number of houses did too and the newspapers got all excited and because there was some real news they did Special Editions. Luckily the roads are made of a four inch layer of stones and half an inch of tarmac, so all that was needed to restore them was a bulldozer to scoop out a bit more hillside, and a few chaps with shovels to lean on to watch the tarmac being poured on top.

All this geologic mayhem has clearly been highly infectious and crossed the species barrier, because yet another of our Peugeots (we have three) has cracked, this time right round the downtube. A hole for the rear lamp wire seems to have been the stress concentration. It was John's bike and he'd outgrown it anyway and we're now in the business of cobbling together something for Going To School On. This of necessity is to be battered and unappealing, obviating the attention of such of his peers who are wont to amuse themselves at one another's bicycles' expense.

I have very kindly not taken a photo because nobody wants to see a broken bicycle frame. But here is a completely gratuitous and non-relevant link to Prof. Tomlinson's bird picktures, the non-passerine ones, wot might generate some Interweb traffic and get Hoopoes up the Google rankings. (And we jolly hope you saw it in a vicar's garden, David.)


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