This is a view from the Port Hills overlooking Christchurch, New Zealand. It was taken in 2007, on our honeymoon.
It's difficult to imagine the devastation that today's 6.3 magnitude earthquake has caused to this quiet and pleasant South Island city. This disaster is both thousands of miles away and very close to home.
I was given eyewitness account by my Mum earlier today in a tearful phone call.
Mum emigrated to Christchurch fourteen years ago. I have spent many months there with her over the years, the last time was a week of our honeymoon - Andy's first visit. Seeing the city so badly damaged is difficult for me, I know it so well.
Today, Tuesday 22nd February, Mum was having lunch with my stepdad and her two sisters and brother (who were with them on holiday from the UK - some holiday)! They were in Riccarton Shopping Mall when the earthquake struck. Terrified, they got out of the shaking building. In the confusion that followed they headed for their car, parked under the mall.
During the panic of everyone trying to leave the car park they suffered a massive aftershock. Mum said all she could think of was that she would never see me again or the boys and that she would die buried under concrete. She said they all thought they were going to die at that moment and some shouted 'we're going to die'. Can you imagine a member of your family shouting in fear like that? It's horrific.
They got out and Mum drove them home, avoiding the worst of the broken, raised, liquifying roads. Their house was still standing, but has not yet been repaired from the 4th September earthquake so they fear it may be further damaged and not safe. They are all now staying with my step-sister. There's not a lot of room, there's no power and no water but they are thankful to be alive.
At the time of writing 65 people have been reported killed with many more still missing, trapped under rubble. My heart goes out to them and their families. I was relieved to have a text from my Mum waiting on my phone when I woke up and I was also able to speak to her. Some people have not been so lucky.
Both my step-brother and step-brother-in-law fear for their jobs as both their places of work were destroyed. Mum is worried that she had a full chest freezer, ready to feed their visitors, that would be thawing. This may sound trivial, but being pensioners they can not afford to replace that food. They daren't go anywhere as there is so much damage and petrol is only available for the emergency services.
I have spent a lot of time day on the phone passing on the news that Mum is safe. In between I have mostly been in tears.
In these dark early days there is confusion and many people will be suffering from shock. My Mum's sobs were evidence of that. Christchurch, the lovely city with the broken cathedral, has to mourn and then start down the road to recovery. It's going to take a lot of hard work and hardship before they are anywhere near back to normal.
Another view from the Port Hills, this time of the coastal suburbs that have today been described as 'unliveable'.
I feel helpless and I know I couldn't physically be any further away from my Mum and my family (some of whom are in their eighties), but my heart is there.