Plagued by pestilence and earthquakes

It feels rather as though my private terrors have rained down on me all at once. A brush with a scorpion, followed by a flu epidemic and now an earthquake! I was convinced that today would be quiet. I would not venture out, I would not play tennis – I presumed that the courts, as everything else, would be closed. I would just sit quietly, so nothing could go wrong. I had enough food, tea and coffee to last the day. One book review to finish, another to start, and frequent updates on the flu epidemic to watch - of course.

But as the Mexican minister of health briefed the press this afternoon, an earthquake registering 5.8 on the Richter scale ricocheted from the southern city of Chilpancingo through the south of Mexico’s capital and beyond. There was I, holed-up, in what I thought was my safe haven in the south of the city. Fortunately, it seems in hindsight, I was so paranoid about the epidemic that when I felt a little nauseous I wondered if it was the onset of the dreaded flu… Then I experienced a sliding sensation in my chair, but still it did not register. I saw the light-shades swaying as if in a light breeze and sat gazing, open-mouthed, at this strange phenomenon, before rushing to the window. Two neighbours were outside, but I thought they were gardening. By the time I realised that this was an earthquake, my first, it was all over and too late for me to evacuate. The lines were down, or engaged so no way and no one to call.

Thankfully, there were no casualites reported.

Today brought the news that the flu has spread. The deaths in Mexico are a tragedy. But internationally everyone seems prepared and it seems to be a weaker strain wreaking its havoc outside Mexico. Things aren’t all bad. Today a friend in Australia offered me refuge – should they close the borders to the UK…