The Earth moved

There was an earthquake in the middle of the night last night. It only lasted around 5 seconds but was quite violent and woke me up. I heard today it was around 4.8 on the Richter Scale. I had thought I’d dreamt it, but no, there was a reason why my heart was racing when I woke! Apparently it happens around once every couple of weeks at the moment, although has calmed down a lot since Christchurch’s second quake in December 2011 and subsequent aftershocks. This is the second quake I’ve experienced in my life, the first being a very polite, British ‘wibble’ when I was living in Warwick. The NZ version was much more unapologetic and abrupt.

I am feeling very refreshed this morning, after a brilliant day of reading and relaxing in a hammock overlooking the Banks Peninsula harbour yesterday. My body just ground to a complete halt, and I had the overwhelming urge to be horizontal for most of the day. I couldn’t have chosen a better place to do so, either. The lodge is an extremely chilled out organic farm in the middle of nowhere. The heat seems to have slowed life right down, and movement is restricted to chickens, sheep and dogs mooching around in the sunshine, and hostellers occasionally shifting reading/sleeping position. The stereo is on all day, playing a brilliantly selected mellow playlist, which adds another tog to the soporific blanket.

I intend to walk along the crater ridge later today, but not until another hammock session with my book. It feels a great luxury to be able to read for long stints each day. I’m attempting an even ratio of ‘challenging’ books versus easy reads, which is working well. So far the list has gone: Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf; When God Was a Rabbit, Sarah Winman; Towards Another Summer, Janet Frame; and The Help, Kathryn Stockett. So I am due another tricksie read, and I can sense the hulking presence of the behemoth, Anna Karenina, lurking in the bottom of my rucksack; I think her time has finally come. So soon I will be diving headfirst into a maelstrom of indistinguishable Russian names. Perhaps I’ll just check out the Book Swap shelf first though – it somehow seems wrong to start a serious Russian novel in a heat-wave…

View from the hammock yesterday (and today) – it was a brilliant spot for star-gazing last night, too – four shooting stars in around twenty minutes.

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