But first of all, before I tell that story, using free speech:
I was in tears yesterday when we noticed a small group of Spanish, French, and English people gathered together. Arms round each other in unity, they sang forth the French national anthem because of the tragic events in Paris. It’s so quiet round here sound travels, and we could hear people clapping and cheering from all directions. So we joined in, sobbing whilst smiling about combined respect and support being so strong…
However the earthquake at the heading of this post refers to a real one. In the early hours of Sunday morning the noise woke us up! On average Spain has anything between 6 – 8 minor earthquakes per year that can be physically felt, and it’s the first one we’ve experienced.
Sounds daunting? Well, there’s nothing dramatic about them, it’s just a bit more powerful than an earth tremor in the UK, and lasts a bit longer – 15 seconds for this one. Even so, it sounded like a HUGE truck was slowly going past and my dressing table was giving out some serious vibes. So we checked the walls by hand and the floor on foot. Nothing, Nada. The triple glazed windows were sound as a pound too. Phew. So the house is robust, but normally silent, inanimate objects suddenly turn into drum kits.
History lesson: Spain was once joined to Africa, so there’s a small tectonic plate under the western side of the Med. The worst earthquake on record was as recent as 2011, up in the mountains somewhere. Depending on which report you read, it measured 4.2 or 5.2 on the Richter scale. At the epicentre many houses built before the 1960’s crumbled. I’m no geologist, the worst case scenario happened far inland from the coast, so I assume the average quake is usually felt stronger inland. Perhaps it’s a “ripple effect” and the coast is clear (excuse naff pun).
We’ve been through worse: What an experience that was. The space shuttle Atlantis was coming in to land at Cape Kennedy, and it’s “glide” path was right above us. People told us what to expect as it went overhead, but it was much worse than we imagined.
“Be prepared to be woken up at 7am for the most powerful man made noise you’ll ever hear and feel.”
“Nah, can’t be that bad, we’ll probably sleep through it.”
“No, you won’t!”
And we didn’t…
The shuttle was miles away when the noise woke us up. As it got closer the oppressed atmosphere made our ears pop. Then the whole house started shaking, the ground felt like it was being ripped up around us, furniture was moving. Windows were rattling so hard I thought they were going to implode. A mirror fell off the wall and doors slammed shut by themselves, it was like something out of a horror movie. And it got worse, heavy shockwaves rattled through human bones, it felt like arthritis had set in every joint.
From being sat bolt upright in shock, we headed for cover under the duvet…! Kennedy Space Centre was only 20 miles away, and we heard and felt every moment till the shuttle touched down on the runway…
So basically what happened yesterday was but a brief tap dance in comparison. One down, around seven more to go till 2016, no problema amigo…!