Sunday, November 13, 2016


Just drifting off to sleep and someone nudged the bed which woke me back up, and then they picked up one corner and jiggled it a bit so as make sure I was paying attention. Whoever it was went outside and got hold of the house and started shoving it about, a sort of rocking motion with quite a few jolts thrown in for a bit of a lark. After that there was a gentle swaying for a couple of seconds and I thought "Oh good, that's finished then" so they got a large sheet of stout cloth to which they'd attached a number of moderate-sized river boulders, and dragged it underneath the foundations so that everything hopped around in a fairly bouncy manner. There followed a decent bit of mild rollicking, much as you'd get if you sat the bedroom in a wooden farm cart and pulled it along an un-made farm track -  (oh - ! - another aftershock - everything just creaked and my chair just suffered a tiny burst of sideways-gravity)  - not that I'm an expert in farm wagon suspension - and then the wagon went onto smoother grass and finally stopped altogether. In all, it lasted three minutes. (You always glance at a clock when these things start so you can check the Geonet website afterwards and discuss it with Mr. Knight in Christchurch.) I got up to check all personnel had survived unscathed - they had - and wandered out to crank over the Internet handle and see if there was to be a tsunami, and the Internet said it was way down in Hanmer Springs which is a hundred miles to the south-east if you draw a straight line underground. So we all went back to bed, closing the cupboard doors in the kitchen en passant. About ten minutes later the bed jiggled mildly again, and then another ten minutes and another jiggle, and so it proceeded for an hour. Woke and -  (- ! - another one) - the radio news was full of it. Most of the damage seems to be on the other side of the dividing range of mountains that runs up and down the country. Here's an interactive map to fiddle about with. Apparently two people are dead in collapsed houses somewhere-or-other, but there are no further details other than neither of them were me. I've wandered around the house and can't see any permanent damage. No books off the shelves and no jamjars on the floor and the walls don't appear cracked. The benefits of flimsy housing. Chicken-wire smeared with a thin layer of concrete seems pretty flexible in a feeble and frankly rather unpleasant-looking bungalow.

I'm going to nip out now since the rather breathless radio presenters just about managed to cram in the weather forecast, and while it's dry a ce moment, it's due to rain at lunchtime when I normally do my exercise. (Avoids the traffic.) Good job I mowed the lawns yesterday. It's warm with lots and lots of rain so the grass grows a couple of metres each day and life mostly comprises hanging onto a juddering lawnmower. The reason there's Global Warming isn't because we've filled the air with car exhaust fumes - it's because the grass from our lawn is so long it's caused aerodynamic resistance in Space and New Zealand is falling closer to the Sun, dragging the rest of the world behind it. I bet when the Space Station flew past last night (wh. it did at 9.18 pm - I keep an eye on these things) its bottom got a mild car wash as it passed 250 miles above our garden.

Nothing to do with the earthquake; just a rather pretty moth that I found the other day outside the back door, its feelers entangled in cobwebs. Took me ten minutes to untangle them, evidently successfully since it had flown off by the next morning.

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