Monday, November 14, 2016

Waking and Shaking!

Thank you to those of you who wrote in this morning to see if we were OK after the earthquake that struck New Zealand just after midnight, it was kind of you to think of us, and your thoughtfulness does help us feel part of a wider caring community.

The first I was aware of the earthquake was when I looked at the blog this morning and found that people had started writing in to check how we were. I put on the radio and was in time to hear our Prime Minister answering a question about the quake, so I knew it had been a bad one.

A screen shot from that I took at 8.20am today showing the last 500 moderate to large quakes. The line of red dots that run in a line along the upper third of the South Island, run from the epicentre of the first quake to Wellington on the other side of the Cook Straight.
We live just North of Dunedin which is in the lower half of the South Island of New Zealand. The quake was centred to the north and inland of Christchurch, probably a 5 and a half hour drive from here. It would seem that the quake triggered a number of quakes up the South Island and across the Cook Straight to the North Island. Wellington, our Capital City, received damage, as did a number of towns in the South Island, and very sadly it would appear that 2 people died in the South Island nearer to where the original Magnitude 7.5 quake was centred.

I recall being half asleep an hour or so after going to bed and hearing sound a bit like a heavy vehicle on the road that went on for a long time, thinking "earth quake", but then putting down a "light headed" sensation that I had to my feeling unwell. There was also a distant thumping sound that I could not understand.

When I went to buy milk at the local shop this morning, Lynda, the shop owner, was weary with lack of sleep and was surprised that I had not known about the earthquake, or the evacuation that followed at 3.30am due to the risk of tsunami in this coastal community. Somehow Laura and I had slept through the sirens that were supposed to have alerted us! Lynda said that the earthquake had gone on for about 3 minutes, and it was different from the usual ones. She had doubted for a while that it was an earthquake as it gave her the feeling that she was carsick or giddy, and she found it hard to understand what was going on.

Many people had been woken up at 3.30 am and told to move to high ground because of fears of a tsunami. Some people spent the rest of the night in the town hall or the school, others slept in their cars. Lynda and her husband Maurice had spent 2 hours huddled up in their car on some higher ground, and had finally come back to the village around 6am and opened their shop, which is near the top of a hill.

I thought nothing had been affected at home, but I discovered that the cuckoo clock had stopped at the time of the earthquake, and that the distant thumping sound that I had been aware of, but could not make sense of, was the sound of the clock's weights thumping the wall!

The quake has been devastating for some people, and we do feel for them. Affected parts of the country have suffered numerous after shocks, some of them serious. It will be some time before news gets digested and sorted, and we have a full overview of what has happened. It would appear that road and rail travel and even ferry sailings have been disrupted. Some smaller towns and communities are cut off.

I'm a bit tired today so will finish this now. The flowers with this post are photos I took in the garden. I know the news is sad and grim, but it is good to be reminded of beauty, and the fragile beauty of a flower says a lot about life and what is precious in it.


Christine said...

Extraordinary about the cuckoo clock. Been thinking about you and glad to hear that you yourself are safe and no damage sustained, I was imagining the pots jumped off shelves and suchlike. Sending good wishes.

PotterMiller said...

Peter......... good to hear things for you are well and thank you so much for posting garden pictures, comforting and beautiful in these times of turmoil (physically and emotionally) Gardening and pottery, I have often joked; the earth could move and once I hit the bed I would never know. Apparently you have proven this to be true. Hope NZ rides out the aftershocks ......... good thoughts to you and all in New Zealand.

smartcat said...

Good news that you are all well. Thanks for the flowers.
Winter is coming.

Arkansas Patti said...

Oh Peter, I quit watching the news after the election so I knew nothing about this. That in a way is good for I was spared worrying about you.
Soooo happy you were not affected anymore than you were. So sad about the fatalities though. Hope the after shocks stop and you can resume life as normal.
You Laura and Stopit stay safe my friend.

Michèle Hastings said...

Good to hear that all is well for you. I was worried when I heard the news.

Anonymous said...

So glad to hear you are OK, Peter, but saddened for the damage and deaths in your country. Take care!

gz said...

glad to hear you are ok. Our friends who have a family house in Blenheim should be landing in NZ today...they might have problems getting to Blenheim!
The ferry problem is the Interislander's pier. Apparently the Buebridge is ok.

Stay safe and dry!!...looking at photos on the rnz website....

Melissa Rohrer said...

I'm so glad you are O.K. I just heard about the earthquake last night and wondered about you. Due to the election, as mentioned in your last post, I've found it difficult to keep the news on for very long (cut myself off completely for several days afterwards) so I missed this when it happened.

Peter said...

Thank you so much everyone for writing in, it is good to hear from you and also to think of you as you think of us! We have been very fortunate where we are thus far in that we have not been aware of the aftershocks. However, we do think of the people in the Northern half of the South Island, and the lower part of the North Island who are having to endure the enormous stress of having to endure earthquakes at frequent intervals day and night. This has a profound affect on people over time that they may carry with them for years.
Physical damage to property is something that we can see and property can usually be rebuilt, but damaged people often carry this silently and do not always receive the understanding and kindness that they should.

I was impressed by some recent articles about the earthquake on the geonet site, and you can find them here

Gwynneth, I'm not sure how your friends will get on, I think the weather has been pretty awful up that part of the country over the last few days and things will be "all shook up" as well. I hope they are OK.

Kind Thoughts to you All, P