Posted by Tania Kindersley.
As always, the dear readers prove their profound dearness. Not a word of reproach for my cavalier disappearance, but merely kind words of concern. I am sorry if the rather abrupt nature of the last blog led to misunderstanding, and I must at once reassure: the undisclosed location is for happy rather than sad or strained reasons. In fact, I am having an entirely unexpected and almost certainly undeserved treat.
The truncated versions of the blog over the next few days are not because I am trapped under a heavy piece of furniture but due to logistical and technological limitations.
I keep wanting to say something about Japan. Then I think: what can anyone say in the face of such wholesale devastation? I think: everyone has said everything that can be said. Then I see one more picture and for some reason think that words must be written.
I think the thing that I cannot quite imagine is what happens when everything is gone. The house, the possessions, the cherished photographs, the clothes, every single thing you use to cook with, the pictures, the books, the furniture: all that being swept away is a catastrophic, heart-breaking blow. But on top of that, everything around you has disappeared: the local shop, the car mechanic, the post office. All your landmarks are gone. How do you start again when that happens? I panic when the electricity goes out for half a day and I cannot cook or go on the internet. There are many things in life I can imagine. I imagine things for my living; that is my job. I'm not sure I can fully imagine starting again from literally nothing.
But, in a small ray of light, children in India are lighting candles and holding up signs saying: People of Japan, we are with you. New Zealand, which suffered its own catastrophe only days ago, is sending in specialist teams to dig through the wreckage. Britain has despatched rescue dogs. Countries as diverse as Honduras, Morocco and Pakistan are sending aid. It's a tiny, tiny silver lining, but it is a lining.