You will doubtless all be aware of the earthquake that hit Christchurch on Tuesday. I managed to make contact with my family reasonably quickly, and they are all safe and well - but many are not so lucky, and the damage is phenomenal. I have been compulsively checking the news, and can think of little else - though this is smaller than September's 7.1 magnitude quake, it has been far more devastating, with many injured, missing and dead.
I have been feeling quite helpless, watching the footage and not being able to do anything. I have flown down for the weekend - I've been helping reshelve the contents of Mum's pantry this afternoon, and tomorrow will doubtless be kept very busy at Merchiston - but it still feels futile. However, I do trust in the experience of organisations like Red Cross, and while I'm doing my bit for my family I think the best way to help those who are suffering greater losses is by donating money. If you're in Christchurch and have avoided the worst, are at a loose end and want to do your bit, the UC Volunteer Student Army has mobilised and is helping out (you don't have to be a student). In Wellington, there is an opportunity for you to get your hands dirty, too - The Great Sunday Bake-Off will deliver as much as they can of your baking to shaken Cantabrians - and will sell the remainder for the Red Cross (that also means if you're keen to eat some home baking you should visit Civic Square on Monday after 10am).
There was also a wonderful piece of news this week for our family: I am now Aunty Cake! A big ray of light to brighten an awful week (sorry Sister Cake, for everyone hijacking all the baby excitement to talk about the quake) - so welcome to little Timothy, no longer to be known as MacGuyver as he was before he emerged, and who chose a very memorable day to arrive (fortunately for my sister she does not live in Christchurch, or it would have been a way-too-eventful labour).
I will try to get back to you soon with a real post - perhaps even incorporating food(!) - and I am very grateful for all your kind wishes, sorry that it has taken me a while to post an update.