As you know, the articles that I write for Australia and New Zealand magazine are posted here one month after they have appeared in print. But when I actually write for the magazine, I’m usually writing about a couple months ahead of when that magazine comes out.
So to clarify that further, I’ve just written another article for the magazine today and that will appear in a couple months, the article you’re about to read appeared last month but I wrote it three months ago, and the new magazine that appeared in my post box this week contains the article I’ll be posting on this blog next month.
Is everybody clear?
What’s interesting about all that is that I have just realised that of the five articles currently flying around from the past, present and future, three of them have been about the weather.
- Extremely wet weather.
- Extremely hot weather.
- Extremely cold weather.
All that in five months. Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if the editor over at Australia and New Zealand magazine decides to replace me for droning on about the weather constantly, but lets be fair, we’ve had an awful lot of weather lately.
Here’s last months magazine article.
Article 11: And now…… The weather.
If I’ve done it once, I must have done it a dozen times. I walk into a room and think “My word, it’s hot in here, must open the window.” And then when I get to the window, I realise it’s already open. Or even worse, the window is closed so I open it and a blast of even hotter air enters the room. Sometimes you just can’t win. But Australia isn’t just a hot country.
Unless you have been attempting to traverse the Atlantic in a hot air balloon over the last few months, I’m sure you will have been aware of the disastrous floods that have affected so much of Queensland. For most people, high on their list of advantages in moving to Australia would be to escape the UK’s rain. But how bad is it here?
Well, I’ve only lived in Australia for just over three years, but I have already witnessed many of the extremes that this country can chuck at you. When I first got here, there was no water. Brisbane, where I live, was in crisis.
The dams were at record lows, the grass was brown and crispy, crops weren’t growing, farmers were praying for rain and water supplies were desperately thin. The campaign at the time was “every drop counts!” Dripping taps were a torture to the state.
Then I arrived!Image courtesy of jaredmorgs
Now, the dams are at 100%. Some 110% or 120%. Others are at percentages we didn’t know they could get to. Water has been released from those dams and has flooded into the rivers around them. As much as I’d like to take credit for ending Australia’s drought by “bringing the weather with me”, apparently, it’s not down to me. It’s down to El Nino and La Nina.
Well I’m not going to go all the Weather Channel on you, but in a nutshell, it’s all to do with changes in the atmosphere and the Pacific Ocean. When we have a La Nina it rains a lot. When we have an El Nino, it’s very dry and very hot. So one gives us hot and sunny with clear blue skies and the other makes us wet. Very very wet!
As savage as it can be at times, it’s all part of the beauty of life in Australia. And Australian rain is very different from English rain. It’s warm! Nobody in Australia runs in the rain. Nobody holds a newspaper over their head in the rain here. When it starts raining, more often than not, hot sunny and clear blue skies return in the blink of an eye. And within half an hour, the soaking you received has completely dried out.
There’s a fantastic poem by Dorothea Mackellar called “My Country”. It’s a big favourite with Australians and well worth searching out to read it in full. But for now, I just want to quote a few lines. “Core of my heart, my country! Land of the Rainbow Gold, For flood and fire and famine, She pays us back threefold.”
Precisely! For all the highs and lows of the Australian weather, I know which climate I prefer. Just make sure you buy a house on a hill.