For more than the hundredth time in as many years, the quiet south-western county of Cornwall has not been subjected to a terrifying barrage of seismic tremors causing unprecedented property damage and human tragedy.
As early holiday makers began to arrive at the many campsites and caravan parks to enjoy the warm summer sun and various tourist attractions, surely none of them could have thought that their lives were about to be turned upside down by the worst natural disaster to hit Britain in over a century. And turned upside down they weren’t, as the ground remained as steady as a rock, trembling not even a bit as they pitched their tents and lit their portable barbecues.
Kevin Pointon, 14, from Dudley, happily played with his younger sister Lianne and a few other kids staying at their park, blissfully unaware of their distant brush with the remote possibility of death or injury in the terrible, unstoppable force of Mother Nature. Not for them the cries for help from beneath piles of rubble that were once majestic monuments to man’s tenuous control over his world. In vain they didn’t search for survivors through the night, hoping against hope that their loved ones somewhere, somehow had survived the horrific catastrophe. On they played, their toys not a poignant reminder of the young lives that had been destroyed one fateful day in Cornwall.
In Truro, hastily erected field hospitals were converted into sports halls and cinemas as the never-increasing stream of dead and dying victims failed to materialise. One man, a medical student in his third year, told reporters: “What can we do? There are just no injured people to treat. I personally have taken care of nobody at all today, and it’s only eleven in the morning.”
Soldiers on a nearby army base continued with training exercises and manoeuvres as they were not mobilised to evacuate residents of still-quiet towns and villages, nor to provide assistance with the search for survivors. And the Red Cross already has no plans at all to send workers with unnecessary food packages and medical supplies to the happy county of Cornwall.
As the complete lack of dust did not settle on the un-shattered remains of Newquay, local landlord Ken Nugent didn’t wipe a single tear from his eye as he surveyed the tranquil scene before him. “Just yesterday I was playing with my young son on those swings over there,” he said. “I probably will again this afternoon. He likes the swings.”
Nugent is typical of the Cornish people at this relatively easy time, not having to draw on previously unsuspected reserves of strength and determination, nor look to each other for emotional and spiritual support, as well as practical help.
So, as you go about your day today, spending time with your loved ones and making plans for tomorrow and beyond, don’t worry about sparing a thought for the people of Cornwall, because they’re fine.