Tag Archives: weather

After the Storm…A Fire in the Sky.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”

– Rabindranath Tagore

There’s an element of luck, but also a trained and experienced eye which not only seizes the moment but captures it from a particular perspective which brings out the drama, that sense of theatre and draws the viewer into a compelling story.

Sky on Fire

“Poetry surrounds us everywhere, but putting it on paper is, alas, not so easy as looking at it.”

– Vincent Van Gogh

Of course, I’m really chuffed about these sunset photos I took last night while we were at the Christmas party at the sailing club. As much as I’ll push the envelope to get the shot, I’ve developed a healthy respect for storms and my days of pursuing menacing, deep purple storm clouds with trailing tentacles are done, after getting caught in a ferocious hail storm down at the beach where my car felt like a flimsy tin can and wondering whether the windscreen was going to hold out while the hail had smashed through the laser light roof over our office at home and the kids were terrified. Thankfully the State Emergency Service (SES) came to the rescue and put up a tarp.

Jonathon & Amelia

Our kids.

This was our second storm in two days and while we were relieved not to have any hail, we arrived home to a blackout and Ausgrid was giving no time estimation on when the power was coming back on. That clearly didn’t look good and with my parents and aunt coming up to visit today and needing to get the house in order, my stress levels soared. Not quite through the roof, but I was definitely considering going down to Sydney instead to let ourselves off the hook. While you should be able to invite family into your mess and chaos, the reverse is usually true for most of us and anyone would think we were prepared our homes for a royal visit. Well, I wasn’t going to be the one to break with tradition and started cleaning up what I could by torch and candlelight. As time stretched on, the kids and I even ended up in the car charging my phone and reading a book. My husband was more sensible and had an early night.

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The power came back on at 11.00pm and of course, I was still awake and literally burning the candle but relieved to put it out. While candlelight might be romantic, it doesn’t take the place of electricity and can’t bake a cake. That had to wait til this morning.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Cold Dogs!

Many of you will be familiar with my two dogs, Bilbo and Lady and we’ve been following their intrepid adventures going sailing, kayaking, trying to rescue lost tennis balls from raging seas.

While not quite as exciting or newsworthy as their adventures on high and low tides, the dogs have been chasing the heat lately as Winter sets in.

As you can see from the photograph, Bilbo is hardly a small dog but try telling him he’s too big to be a lap dog. Oh no! My husband and I will be tapping away on our respective lap tops after the kids have gone to bed, and then we feel this white paw reach up and another. Before we know it, the dog has parked on our laps and we’ve juggling cables and laptop to make room before they inadvertently send dreadful messages to all my recipients at once.

Anyway, once the temperature plunges to 15° Celsius around here, it’s deemed “freezing” and even the dogs agree. Bilbo not only snuggled into Geoff’s lap but really dug in the other night:

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Cold Dog.

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Not sure how she usurped Bilbo, but Lady also welcomed a warm lap.

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Complaints to management! Bilbo’s not happy about being rendered a floor dog!

Actually, Bilbo also seems to find a spot near the heater! Funny that!

Meanwhile, my cries of “freezing” have been met with derision on Facebook. You call that cold?

These were some of my responses:

“-5 overnight here in Orange and still -3.3 coming to work at 7 this morning. Now that’s chilly”.

“Northern New England is -6°C at the time of this post.” (This is NW NSW near Armadale).

My husband, Geoff, grew up in rural Tasmania where you had to board in Launceston to complete your last two years of school. He tells great stories of sticking a  glass of water on the window sill overnight where it would turn into a freezing slushie and you really had to be on your guard. Not my idea of a shower on an icy Winter’s morning!

So, what’s your weather doing today? I must say that it looks like our cold snap has eased today and it’s bright and sunny outside today and about 16-18°C. I know that’s “Summer” in other parts of the world and I’m feeling so much better!

Take care!

xx Rowena’

Surviving the Storm at Ocean Beach.

Everybody perceives the world through their own lens and reacts in  their own way. While those who like to be prepared and take precautions might check the weather bureau when they see a storm front, I grabbed my camera jumped in the car heading to the beach to get the shot. One hell of a storm was brewing with a towering bank of deep purple clouds contrasting with perfect blue sky, creating a photographic opportunity too good to miss. I jumped in the car and drove down to the beach as fast as I could within the speed limit and without hitting any of the gazillion ducks and their offspring, which have taken over the streets.

The Lifeguard's board wasn't much chop for taking on this almighty storm.

The Lifeguard’s board wasn’t much chop for taking on this almighty storm.

Once I was down on the beach in photography mode, seeing the world through 6x 4, I was so focused on  capturing those shots that I didn’t even question whether those clouds were harbingers of doom. That those kind of clouds, the really spectacular ones, mean business…a severe storm and it’s not the sort of thing you want to get caught up in.

Not a good time to walk the dog! It wasn't one of ours.

Not a good time to walk the dog! It wasn’t one of ours.

I was still on the beach when large, heavy raindrops started plopping down in quick succession. With no time to wait, I headed back to the car. By this stage, the wind had whipped up and was sweeping up the track. The wind was getting strong. No sooner than I’d made it back to the car, when hail started pelting down sounding like machine gun fire. It was truly terrifying especially as I watched in horror as the hail belted against the windscreen and I wondered just how strong that glass was. Was it going to smash. With the storm hitting the beach front right in front of me and being completely unprotected, the car really took a beating and I hoped it was all going to be okay.

I also made a mental note…no more storm chasing. This was the second time I’d been caught in a storm with my camera and after a surfer was struck by lightening recently, I now know that I need to take these storms a lot more seriously. Photos are not worth dying for!

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Mister showing off the hail.

Another not so minor detail involved the kids. They’d decided to stay home. We’re only minutes from the beach so not a big deal except there I was bailed up in the car with hail the size of golf balls battering down while they were at home. It was too treacherous to drive and I was naturally wanting to get back and so decided to chance it and drove home through the hail…quite a feat for such a nervous driver.

The streets and gardens were covered in 5-10 centimetres of thick hail. It’s the closest we’ve ever come to having snow and it would’ve been incredibly fun for the kids, if these same “golf balls” hadn’t smashed multiple holes in our back roof. While the Laserlite is great for letting the sun through, it had become brittle and bam.

The roof was leaking like a sieve.

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Mister was on the phone to Emergency when I finally made it through the door, totally drenched. The kids took me out the back, to what we call; “The Green Room”. My desk is positioned against a huge window overlooking the garden and my keyboard was literally swimming. The file cards I’ve actually been using for “The Book Project”, had also gone for a swim and my Paris diary, which has survived 22 years including being carted around Europe in my backpack, was also a tad wet.Photo albums, computer equipment and more clutter than you could ever imagine, all getting drench in the line of fire.

I called Emergency back and called the State Emergency Service. They;re the incredible volunteers who risk their own personal safety to put tarps over leaking roofs in the middle of awful storms without being paid a cent. We ended up with 4 SES volunteers out in the yard with one up the ladder or on the roof. Such relief, especially as Geoff was at work and Mister was wanting to be the hero. Get up on the roof and fix the holes himself.

Another point I haven’t mentioned, is that having all that water inside and slippery surfaces is treacherous for people with mobility issues. I fall easily enough without assistance and after breaking my foot in a fairly basic fall, I’m also conscious that such falls aren’t a laughing matter!

Rescue.

Rescue.

I’m proud of our efforts coping under such adverse conditions. We really were thrown in the deep end and had to think about how to best overcome the leaks. I pulled out the shower curtain and used it to cover the book shelf, which was still dry but I didn’t want to take any chances. We put a tarp over my desk once we’d cleared everything off. My daughter, who was incarnating her Cub Scout leader, was sorting out where to put the umpteen containers we required to catch the drips. She did a great job. Mister also did well. He was very concerned about how other people we going and I had to keep reminding him that we’d lost our roof and had our own crisis. It was great, however, to see his community-mindedness.

Thank goodness for the State Emergency Service!

Thank goodness for the State Emergency Service!

Thank goodness Geoff arrived home while the SES was here and he was able to dig out some sheets of iron sheeting to stick over the top. They screwed it down and put sandbags and boards on top to hold it down and even applied some silicone to plug the gaps.

We are so incredibly grateful.

After going through all of this…being stuck in the hail storm, the damage to the roof and all that rain in the house and having to move all that stuff and the damage…I have some incredible photos…and a couple of containers of hail in our freezer and a lot of hard work ahead.

xx Rowena

A Letter to the Sun.

Dear Sun,

Where the @#$$% are you?

Just in case you haven’t checked your calendar lately, it’s now the end of September.You’re supposed to be here by now and no more of these fleeting drop-in, guest appearances either! It’s well and truly Spring. Summer is just around the corner…not a few blocks away, despite what you might think.You’re supposed to be here by now!

Indeed, it’s now almost October and for some strange reason, you’ve gone Missing In Action.

It is currently 14.8°C and I know I can’t blame you for the wind but it’s a roaring 14 knots and even the dogs are complaining that their fur is being blown all the way to New Zealand.

After preliminary inquiries, I’ve established that you were last seen on the Australian East Coast on Monday 21st September at 5.50PM, although there have been a few unconfirmed sightings since then.

Meanwhile, I’ve received confirmed reports that you’ve escaped back to the Northern Hemisphere and I’m starting to wonder if you’ve been snatched, although I’m yet to receive any ransom demands.

I repeat where the @#$$% are you?

If you don’t report back in by 07.00 hours, you will be considered AWOL and can expect an instant court martial upon your return.

Yours sincerely,

Australia.

A wet and misty day in paradise.

A wet and misty day in paradise.

 

Looking very much like a scene from a Northern winter, it's summer in Sydney...not quite your postcard perspective!!

Looking very much like a scene from a Northern winter, it’s summer in Sydney…not quite your postcard perspective!!

Happy Australia Day 2015! It’s overcast, wet and even the cricket has been delayed.

Just in case you didn’t check out yesterday’s post, this was yesterday:

Mister still roasting as a very hot Australian sun sets.

Mister still roasting as a very hot Australian sun sets.

 

People often tell you that tomorrow is another day and most of the time I’ve politely nodded while feeling highly sceptical, cynical and plain unconvinced. How could my entire world change completely overnight like waving a magic wand? Surely, there would just be more and more of the same and one day surely follows another. Why would it change?

Well, overnight, we have seen an absolute change in the weather here in Sydney. Yesterday, there was blue sky and the sun was blazing overhead like an oven. I’ve always meant to actually test whether you can actually fry an egg out on the raod on days like that but eggs are rather messy and I always seem to forget. I’m sure someone somewhere has tried and can tell me if it works but that would somehow spoil the magic.

While our last day in paradise has been spent indoors, I was watching a few yachts sail past and even a couple of what I could only call zealous kayakers paddle by and then I realised that they were out there carpe diem seiziing the day despite the rain. I didn’t know whether that was a good thing or just blind obsession but as much as I love going out in the kayak, I don’t like that sensation of having wet raindrops patter again your skin. It’s sort of creepy…as in scraping fingertails down a chalkboard kind of creepy. No, I’ll stay inside.

That said, I am considering a swim in the pool. It was so balmy warm last night. You see, it has solar heating and we haven’t adjusted the settings so it was like swimming in a balmy soup. Yes, it’s going to need a good dose of something when we leave. Unfortunately, at those temperatures it’s going to become amoeba soup.

We will be heading back home tonight. Tomorrow, will be our last day of school holidays where we will be quickly trying to adjust our body clocks to the inevitable early mornings and trying to get all our ducks lined up for the real new year.

At least, I’ve made a list.

Sadly, something tells me that we’ll be relieved just to pull up at school on time with hair done, shoes on and something in the lunchbox. We are still struggling to implement our scouting motto: “Be Prepared”!!

By the way, I still have the boot on my broken foot as we start the new school year and the operatic cough is starting to look like I’ve had whooping cough. While this might excuse me from being wondrously organised for the start of the new school year, that isn’t going to help the kids get a good start or perhaps aiming well beyond our station…actually, get ahead.

Wish us luck!! We really, really need it!!

xx Rowena