14&15/2/16. You may have heard that an earthquake struck Christchurch on Sunday. We can confirm that. Thankfully, it would appear that nobody was seriously injured but it has to to be said it was pretty disconcerting!
We returned to Christchurch on Saturday (post re that to follow soon – apologies for the hiatus) and were in the botanic gardens enjoying the sunshine. First, we heard a noise – not loud but all around – that was like a plane flying overhead or the wind blowing through the leaves. Then the ground moved. It felt like we were standing on jelly. It seemed to last quite a long time (several seconds at least) but, in reality, I am sure it was all over very quickly.
We had experienced a minor tremor in Whanganui a few weeks ago and also in PNG, but this was on a different scale. It was quite disconcerting and Stephen, in particular, experienced some lightheadedness. Around us there was no panic but people stopped and looked at each other. We spoke to one couple who were from California. They seemed more worried than us. (A symptom of their more local concerns?)
We gather that this made the BBC World News (according to our Bahraini correspondents) – perhaps because of the imminence of the fifth anniversary of the Big One, which caused widespread damage and loss of life, and the dramatic film footage of some cliffs falling into the sea. We heard more masonry fell from the cathedral here (the one that was badly damaged 5 years ago but otherwise it didn’t seem to be too big a deal here – it was the third item on Sky News (Aus & NZ) and the lady at the campsite reception was pretty blase about it.
It was a 5.7 quake which doesn’t seem too far off the 6.3 of the Big One even taking account of the logarithmic nature of the scale. It has been followed by numerous aftershocks which we haven’t felt but account for the couple of incidents of lightheadedness that we (again Stephen in particular – he’s a sensitive soul!!!) experienced.
Other than this big excitement, what have we been doing?
On Sunday morning, Christine went to the service at the Cardboard Cathedral (the temporary one) which, when asked afterwards by a member of the congregation, she described as “disappointing” because they ran out of orders of service, there were no hymnbooks, and no overhead display so she didn’t really know what was going on. She had the opportunity to express her views to a couple of other people when being “passed around”. But she did think that the cathedral itself was beautiful and brilliant.
As mentioned in the blurb on the earthquake, we looked round the botanic gardens. They are excellent! Up there with Kew and Wisley. And free. We were particularly impressed by the rose garden and some magnificent “specimen” trees.
Monday was spent on drudgery! Laundry and tent and bike cleaning in preparation for Australian biodiversity regulations. Not much fun but it had to be done.