It is my favourite time of the year again! Daylight Savings has started, days are longer and warmer, and my garden has turned from dull and boring into bright and sunny with daffodils, freesias and apple blossom all out.The window sill by the front door has a bottle of sunscreen lotion permanently sitting on it and my very large sunhat has replaced my rather hideous pom-pom hat.
YES! It is spring again!
The season had a rather shaky start. Literally. At the beginning of September a major 7.1 earthquake struck, the center of which was just a few kilometers up the road. It was a very rude awakening at 4.00 am! Bleary from sleep I was immediately aware the rocking was an earthquake because of the roaring noise, but what was really scary was the length of time the house rocked.
I grew up in New Zealand so was used to earthquakes. For others in the house, it was their first experience. They found the ‘rolling’ exciting, while I found it horrifying because it seemed to go on forever and gain in strength as it did so. In my experience earthquakes were always short and sweet, over before you really registered them happening. Not so this one!
After the rocking stopped, I failed to realize just how extensive the earthquake was and how much damage had been caused. We still had electricity, but there was no coverage on television. Internet was down (which in hindsight wasn’t surprising given the location of my ISP!) It was only later on that Saturday morning that I saw the news reports on all the damage caused.
I personally was very lucky and only had minor damage to my house. Others weren’t so lucky. One of my cousins living in Christchurch had his house move sideways and fall off the piles it was built on. Another friend of a family member fell out the side of his house from an upstairs bedroom when the brick wall fell away. Amazingly, given the amount of destruction, there were no fatalities.
Since the ‘big one’ we have had over 2500 aftershocks. The time lapse demonstration of just how frequently they are hitting can be seen at http://www.christchurchquakemap.co.nz/ They happen so often, I don’t tend to notice the little ones anymore. Anything over 4.5 does tend to get my attention though!
Finally, Hera’s top tip: Don’t climb ladders to prune trees when there are frequent aftershocks happening. It is very difficult to walk away from that with any kind of dignity intact!