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0:57am Tremor in the Midlands. Definite rattling and shaking. Fortunately my shelves are still intact else I’d have had repeated headaches as they fell. Estimate between 4 and 5 on the Richter scale, probably closer to 4. I’ll have to remember to check the news tomorrow.

Update: It’s the lead story on the BBC which surprised me. They have the time as 0:56 GMT and the magnitude as 5.3 centred on Market Rasen based on a BGS report [PDF]. Those seismograms seem to run on to 0:57 so I’m quite pleased with my estimates.

The tremor seemed to come in two parts. I was lying in bed and hadn’t fallen asleep yet but was well on the way. At first I thought I had mice in the walls again. Rather than feeling it I could hear it. Then I felt my quilt moving and because I’m slow to give up an idea I thought that the mice had cajoled a couple of helpful rats into pulling some new bedding to their hole. Waking up a bit more I could hear the books shuffling on my shelves. It went on quite a while and seeing as I was half awake to begin with I wouldn’t want to give a certain figure, but I’d guess at least ten seconds with the force of a three-year old wanting to wake someone up so she could have the remote control to watch cartoons on TV.

Then it felt like things shifted gear. Suddenly it was like a three-and-a-half year old who’s been told she can’t open her Christmas presents until everyone is up. I’d say this went on for around eight to ten seconds (the BGS says ten) which made it the longest moderate tremor I’d felt. I wasn’t too sure of my estimate because when this kind of thing is going on accurate counting isn’t the first thing you think of. I was more worried about the books on my shelves which were edging their way forward like tentative lemmings.

I thought it was more insistent than terrifying. It’s annoying that there’s really nothing you can do about it while it’s happening. I can see how it would be a worry for people living closer to the epicentre. It’s nothing too big if you live in California, but it could be the biggest tremor to hit the UK in the past thirty years.

Apparently there was also an aftershock, so perhaps I should use the term earthquake. That was 1.8, but I wouldn’t have known about that because I slept through it.