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14 November 2016

I was comfortably asleep when, a couple of minutes after midnight Sunday, the night of November the 13th, a 7.5 quake hit the South island. At that magnitude it didn’t stay there but extended all the way up to us where my home rock and rolled for about 2 minutes. Ten minutes later my neighbour arrived hammering on my window to see if I was okay. I was. The geese are still stalking about the lawn with the air of those that have been discombobulated and don’t appreciate it. Thunder is clingy, no cat likes his home bouncing like that, and my big water tank may be damaged. We stood chatting in my kitchen briefly, then she went home and I went back to bed.
I got up around half past 6am, fed everything including me, and logged on to my email to find a dozen friends all asking if I was still in one piece. I am. Apart from the water tank which may be cracked around the top, I’m fine and so is everything else here. I’m not even that bothered. It isn’t as if there’s never been a quake here, and while 7.5 is rather more than usual, the lack of any real damage means I’m not as upset as I could have been.
With that intensity the quake could have been far far worse, the last (lower level) quake in that approximate area killed over 200 people and did far more real damage, so all in all I think the country got off lightly. Of course, we all thought that in the first Christchurch quake – which was then followed by the seond that was so bad. Now I’m hoping we don’t have the same pattern. I’d rather sit at my computer thanking fortune that almost everybody/thing survived, then have a second quake roll up and devastate the place. But then, things can always be worse, and right now I’m simply grateful they weren’t and hopeful that won’t change.

6 November 2016

When I was young calling someone ‘queer’ was insulting. Even those who were didn’t use that term normally. Now the GLBT community call themselves that – and it’s PC to do so.

I’ve completed revision on my latest two SHERLOCK HOLMES books this month. One is a double, SHERLOCK HOLMES:FAMILIAR CRIMES,and the other is CATALYST, the collection of my three Holmes/Mandalay novellas plus a short Holmes/Mandalay story. I enjoy writing Holmes, and enjoy still more writing the stories in which Mandalay (the Brown Burmese) and his owner, Miss Emily, feature.
Those tales aren’t twee, but genuine depictions of a cat that loves to find and haul home odd trophies to present to his beloved human. Two of my own cats have been prone to this, a writer friend (now sadly deceased) had a friend whose cat did this too and even more so, and now and again in my newspaper there is a story about someone’s cat that acts that way. So Mandalay isn’t unusual, nor is his liking for other animals – if they are prepared to be friendly. My previous Ocicat was harness-trained and on walks around my farm he would stop to touch noses with everything from the hens or my house-cow, to a friend’s pony stallion grazing temporarily in my back padddock. It was always nice to see that, and to note that most of the other creatures he approached were happy to reciprocate.

At six last night I was off two doors down to the park for Guy Fawkes night. It was a pleasant interlude, quite peaceful – something the latter afternoon had not been. For some reason local bumble bees decided that being inside out of the sun was an excellent idea, and in the last three hours before I left for our Guy Fawkes evening I had to catch and evict nine of them. I say ‘have to,’ since each time one came in, Thunder arrived in the bedorom, landed on me wailing, and demanded I remove this unwanted visiter – severely interrupting my revision of the latest fantasy novel that I wanted to get done by the end of the weekend.
Somewhere in there I forgot to feed the poultry, all of whom arrived on the doorstep and announced immanent starvation molto voce. Between feeding them, collecting their eggs, feeding and soothing Thunder and evicting bumble bees my Saturday afternoon was slightly more hectic than usual. So that later on, being surrounded by people letting off fireworks, offering me cooked sausages, asking what my next article in the paper will be, and selling me raffle tickets, was, as I suspected it would be, almost peaceful in comparison.
And the next friend from the city wo comments how quiet and easy-going life is in the country, is going to be firmly disabused of that!