Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Earthquake 2008: A Tale Of Survival

Wednesday, 27 February 2008
Last night, at approximately 12:50 am, I was caught in the middle of an incident my fellow survivors are already calling "The Quake Of '08". Others are calling it "The '08 Quake". Dissidents!

Yes, as you may have heard, and experienced (if you live between the Scottish borders and the Isle Of Wight, anyway), an earthquake hit England and Wales in the early hours of this morning.

That sucker was 5.3 on the Richter Scale. I think that's out of 6, right? Wardrobes banged, a door creaked, someone told me a frightened dog defecated under a kitchen table. For 10 whole seconds our lives literally shook, hanging in the balance. Unless, y'know, you slept through it... and missed the latest cruel blow Mother Nature dealt our Isles since... erm, last summer's floods.

What do you mean 5.3 is nothing? The Richter Scale's out of 10, you say? There are over 800 size-5's every year? Really? Pah! What do you know!

Okay, if you live around in L.A or San Francisco, you probably know a lot. A 5.3 quake is probably a regular thing every morning for you guys. Or the average ground tremor of a McDonald's luncher waddling down the street. Incidentally, this is why everyone drives in L.A – the place would tear itself apart at the fault-lines if people actually walked to get their midday Happy Meals.

But I'm British, god damn it! We get excited about the natural world. I've known discussions about the weather last 70 minutes. At a funeral! We make a conscious effort to forget when and why the clocks go back or forward ever year – just so we can have a 5-minute chat about it with every other person in October and March.

This was the biggest quake in 25 years for us Britons! And, what's more, the epicentre was only a few miles away from where I live -- at Market Raisen, Lincolnshire. That's right, for today, I live on the outskirts of an "earthquake's epicentre". "Ground zero", we're calling it. The place where most chimney pots fell, and there are more broken mugs per square mile than anywhere else in Europe. Today, anyway.

Just look what The Quake did to my house:

That teaspoon was definitely resting on the saucer's edge when I went to bed...

All I can say is: thank God that mug wasn't full...

Yes, the horror. And the "1" button doesn't work properly anymore, either.

Grrrr. I have my insurance company on speed-dial, don't worry. I can rebuild. Put things in perspective. Nobody I know was hurt, that's the main thing. It's all going to be okay. Just remember that.

Head up. Chin up. Stiff upper-lips.

Our grandparents went through the Blitz...

We can cope with this. Just stay strong.