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Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

Summer was so disappointing in December and January, practically AWOL in fact, that it only really arrived in February. So I’ve been taking great delight in the last few weeks, when – aside from a few chilly days during a southerly storm – we’ve had settled, warm weather. Yes, I know I talk about the weather a lot, but that’s because it is changeable in Wellington, and fine warm summer days are never guaranteed, let alone the relatively windless days, and pleasant temperatures that we’ve been enjoying for the last week. The cicadas have been noisy the whole week – in fact, last night I woke at around 4 am, noticed the moon had lit up the sky, and heard them calling as if it were daytime.

Eating al fresco is one of the great joys of summer, to me. I adore picnics, never got to have one at all last summer, and so was determined to have at least one before summer was over! So yesterday, instead of our usual Sunday activity of cleaning the in-laws’ house (the agent was holding an Open Home), the Husband and I went on a picnic, found a pohutukawa tree in a park and spread out a blanket in its shade, where we ate our lunch of a still-warm-from-the-oven bacon and egg pie, then lay down and watched the birds and the clouds. After lunch and before driving home, we enjoyed a walk and an ice-cream at a local beach, because ice-creams are compulsory on warm summer Sunday afternoons, don’t you think?

I had been hoping to have a summer holiday this year, but the timing of getting the in-laws’ house on the market has put paid to that. We’ll hopefully make a sale in a week or so, then we’ll have to wait for settlement, and by then Easter will have arrived. Travel in April would be nice, but with everyone travelling over Easter at the beginning of the month and the school holidays for two weeks at the end of the month, we’ll stay at home and avoid the crowds. I’m holding out hope to get away for a couple of days somewhere. I’m pining for a lunch in a vineyard, and maybe even a swim somewhere, if it is warm enough. It has to be a priority in the next couple of weeks. Because all too soon, May will be here, and winter will have set in. I mean, even our oak tree is starting to look autumnal. Its green leaves are yellowing at the edges, threatening with the change of seasons already. And the sun is setting earlier and earlier, now around 8 pm.

Good grief, how can I be talking about winter already in this post about the summer? You see what I mean when I say summer is fleeting here in Wellington?! Or do you find seasons are like this where you live too?

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Summer hasn’t shown up this season. Yet, I add hopefully. Here in Wellington, it’s been totally AWOL. After the steamy heat of Japan and Korea, and then even worse in Vietnam in June, I said – foolishly, it seems – that I didn’t want summer to arrive too soon, or to be too hot. But this is just getting ridiculous. We’ve had non-stop wind since October. Usually the spring winds last a few weeks, or maybe a month, around October or November. But December was crazy, and although we get the occasional calm day, the wind has otherwise been the most consistent part of this “summer.”

I’ve worn sandals once. I haven’t even had to paint my toenails, or shave my legs (though don’t worry, I have), because I’m generally in shoes or sneakers and jeans. We’ve even had the heating on, including today, and I’ve managed to sit outside on the deck with a drink for – count it – ONE measly day! So it’s been wine and cocktails inside, in a desperate attempt to pretend that it is, in fact, summer. Sure, we’ve been able to get lovely summer produce from the supermarket and even the garden, so that’s kept me busy at least.

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Tomato and zucchini relish jars

Yet from almost every window in my house, I look outside and across the valley, and see dozens of bright red pohutukawa trees. As much as I love them, it’s as if they are mocking me!

Still, I can’t resist photographing them. Here are a few from my walk down my street the other day, on a rare calm and sunny (though not very warm) day.

 

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In Western society, it seems that the sun is king; people who live in sunny climes gloat about their good weather, their beach lifestyle, their skimpy clothes for months (or all year round), and deem it fashionable and acceptable to laugh at those of us who live in temperature-challenged environs, even if those warm-climate folks live in air-conditioning (or wish they did) for much of the year.

It equally seems fashionable here to criticise our own weather, and yes, I know I did my fair share of that this year when summer taunted us with a fleeting drive-by, but I have to say that I am glad I don’t live somewhere where the temperature goes to extremes. I loved living in Bangkok, but that was despite its heat not necessarily because of it; Bangkok’s average high is about five or even ten degrees C too hot for me.

40C isn’t good weather in my world, it’s ridiculous, and so is 35C and humid; likewise, for those freezing temperatures some of you endure over winter! The sun too brings other dangers and in my view, lying on the beach or beside a pool in the full sun is the act of a crazy person; tans are evidence of damage, and promise wrinkled, leathery skin with the risk of skin cancer and possibly death in years to come.

I think I had to wait until I was in my 40s to meet someone (Helen, a favourite former blogger) who said that she preferred winter (and a Canadian winter at that) to summer, and I was shocked, as her view went so completely against the norm. But I realised instantly too that as much as I love the freedom that comes with warm weather, I know what she means, and this is one of the reasons why I’m relishing (I hope) wrapping up warm and experiencing some cold weather today in Iceland.

Do you chase the sun and heat, or hide from it?

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