Weathering the Weather
It is predictable yet unpredictable. It can wreak havoc or soothe the soul, be a picture of beauty or one of horror. It often generates headline news and can make or break a day.
The weather is like time; it dictates us. It influences our daily choices from clothes to activities and facilitates decisions on where to live and vacation. We are at the mercy of Mother Nature.
I grew up in one of the southernmost cities in the world, Invercargill, New Zealand. The weather was always a topic of conversation, usually, because it was dreary out; overcast or raining and often cold. The Crowded House song title ‘Four Seasons in One Day” sums up the weather there perfectly.
In the midst of Summer, it may be positively miserable and in Winter it could be warm enough to go out for a picnic. Fickle temperatures, whatever the season, meant any sort of outing or get-together always required a backup plan or done at the last minute.
When it rained, there were three distinct variants of how it came down:
1. The driving rain that pelted on the windows so loudly you think they were going to break, its tyranny fueled by the wind. You didn’t dare venture out in it.
2. The cloudburst downpour, when all the trillions of drops ganged up with each other to soak you completely. Often unanticipated, or in the forecast but considered to be potentially dodgeable.
3. The drizzle; light sprinkles that cling to the air and you, your clothes. Usually persistent and made you surprisingly wet.
Winters were cold because our houses were not built with double glazed windows and there was no such thing as a heat pump. In the modest house that I grew up in, there was not one single heater in most rooms and instead, we relied on an open fire, a night-store heater and a Conray bar heater in the kitchen.
Both of those were like large rectangular boxes, designed, I thought, for sitting on. I used to get in trouble for doing that with my father declaring I would get ‘piles’ if I continued to do so.
Every Autumn, Dad would load up the woodpile and get bags of coal delivered. Although it is now considered a major…