Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Shaken, Not Too Stirred

The headline is shamelessly stolen from the Times of London reporting a 5.2 earthquake in Britain this morning.

Property owners were out this morning assessing the damage to their homes and businesses after Britain suffered its biggest earthquake in over two decades.

The tremor, measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale and with its focus 3.1 miles (5km) below the Lincolnshire town of Market Rasen, struck at 12.56am.

It was felt from southern Scotland to the south coast of England, and from East Anglia to Wales, with tremors lasting for up to a minute that sent walls vibrating, chimneys shaking, furniture moving, paperwork tumbling and ornaments rattling on shelves.

The only definite report of injury was of David Nates, a 19-year-old student in Wombwell, Barnsley, who suffered a suspected fractured pelvis when part of the roof masonry fell through the ceiling of his attic bedroom and landed on his legs as he watched TV. His parents were also in the house, but were unhurt.

His father said today: “Of all the things that can happen – an earthquake. I could not believe it but when I think about it, it could have been worse.”

A spokeswoman for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said that “some sort of fancy stonework” had become dislodged.

In Birmingham a 31-year-old pregnant woman suffered a panic attack, but did not need hospital treatment.

But emergency services were inundated with calls from puzzled and frightened people woken from sleep by the quake. This morning they were still dealing with minor damage caused by the earth movement.

I love the British reserve when they face things like that:

“Oh, I say, was that an earthquake?”

“Why, yes, I do believe it was.”

“Oh. Well. Everything all right?”

“I seem to have broken my hip and the tea cozy has gone missing.”

“Oh, bad luck. Well, let’s press on with all possible dispatch, shall we?”

There’ll always be an England.