In the latter months of 2004 I had quoted to several people, and had also been much thinking about, the observation of Voltaire re the 18th century earthquake which destroyed Lisbon.
He had said that this one act was sufficient to remove the possibility of belief in a just and loving God.
At 4.45 p.m. on June 20th (I think) 2003 our house had shaken for an instant, and I bet my wife 10 € that this was not machinery operating in the garages beneath, but an earthquake.
She disagreed... and I won the money, as it turned out that we had just experienced a tremor of 4.0 on the Richter scale with the epicentre some ten kilometres out to sea. Nobody was hurt.
Where we lived was not too far from a tectonic plate, and in 1901 an earthquake had hit the nearby town of Torrevieja and only one building - the casino - had survived.
On December 27th 2003 an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale had killed 31,000 in Iran.
I remembered having once heard Christian singer Cliff Richard defending his faith in God´s love and justice.
"...Okay; natural disasters are harder, but they don´t evacuate!..."
On December 26th 2004 an earthquake measuring 9.1 struck 100 miles off the Sumatran coast, with consequent tsunamis causing hundreds of thousands of deaths.
It made me think that the only really practical approach to life was to make the best of it and just hope you are not affected by natural disasters whenever they hit. And they are rarer in some parts of the world.
As I watched the Sky News TV reports coming in, there was eye witness testimony from a British tourist who had been on the beach of the Thai island of Phi Phi, where many casualties were suffered, when the tsunami hit at 7 a.m.
It was Will Geddes speaking.
On August 14th 1992, Will Geddes, with whom I had been recently working at Cornhill Publications, happened to pass by our off licence in London´s Fulham Road. I invited him in and we had chatted for a while.
On May 5th 2005 a bomb exploded in a flowerpot outside the British Consulate in New York. I glimpsed an item about it at 11:49 a.m. that day on Sky TV News in which a presenter was interviewing a "security expert".
It was the same Will Geddes.