Mary's musings

Mary Hoffman, author of over 90 children's books, including the Stravaganza series and Amazing Grace, has begun a web journal which will be updated roughly once a week. You can read more on

Monday, January 03, 2005

Waves of Despair

How quickly we were all brought down to earth after a happy family Christmas. Or rather to water. The terrifying power of the tsunami in the Indian Ocean brings home how remote from the forces of nature we live in the west. Water comes out of a tap when we need it or sits meek in an Evian bottle and the closest we ever get to its elemental strength is when a river bursts its banks and floods homes.

The day after the earthquake the television showed a documentary about how the village of Boscastle was devastated by floods a year ago. Talk about upstaged! That pretty village, which I have visited, lost not one single life. But the wild waters of the Indian Ocean showed something very like the catastrophe which might have befallen Atlantis.

As the horror sank in, it was heartening to hear of the generous response of the world's ordinary people. And the Brits seem to have shamed the government into upping their aid from £15 to £50 million. Bexy tells me the audience for Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang at the Palladium, where she is working front of house, give about £3,000 at each performance for the relief fund. The actors make the appeal from the stage and bring the buckets down into the auditorium themselves. That helps inspire people to give; I wonder whether the other West End theatres are doing the same?

Both my nieces have spent time in Thailand in the affected areas and we all sat glued to the TV news when they were here on 28th; their family had been travelling since Boxing Day and hadn't had a chance to see the coverage. Hard to imagine communities where every family has either lost someone or been entirely lost.

We have so much to be thankful for, most of us, and should stay mindful of it all year and every year.