My heart goes out to all those affected by the earthquake in Christchurch in the South Island of New Zealand.
Today's New Zealand Herald reports 75 dead from earthquake, and with 300 missing the toll is expected to climb. It is the worst natural disaster since the 1920's.
Most of my family and friends are from the North Island. So far it seems I don't personally know anyone living in Christchurch. I spent a year there as a post-graduate journalism student. It's a very English university town, flat and surrounded by farm lands, where many people cycle wherever they have to go.
The power of the earthquake - at a magnitude of 6.3 - was felt as far away as Dunedin, 200 miles to the South, causing an estimated 30 million tons of ice to break from New Zealand's largest glacier.
The pain and suffering in that city today is unfathomable. It is surreal to be spending these quiet moments in my garden many thousands of miles away, unable to help...