Here in Ohakune we’re on our fourth day of solid rain. We’re not alone – storms have swept across the country and I wonder if we should rename New Zealand the Soggy Isles. There have even been mini-tornadoes in some areas, trees being tossed aside like cocktail sticks and rooves ripped away.
We’re paying for our glorious summer of endless sunny days, so little rain it meant cracks in the parched earth and cracks in my neglected heels from constant sandal wearing. Metservice optimistically forecast ‘showers’ today, but last I looked this requires there to be a break in the rain and, at lunchtime, I haven’t spotted one yet today. There were a few on Tuesday, clouds blowing away in nearly gale-force winds to allow the sun through, wet tarmac steaming in the sudden heat, mist rising above trees as recently fallen rain vaporised to become more clouds. I thought about hunting for the pot of gold, staring out at raindrops glinting as the sunlight shone through them, sure we must be at one end or other of the rainbow.
Rain in NZ is serious stuff. We rarely get the gentle stuff of atmospheric photos, the light diffused by a thin veil of misty rain. Here it teems, today so heavy you’d think it would break your wrist if you stuck a hand out into it. We don’t get days of overcast heavy grey skies, day after day when you wonder if the sun will ever shine again, and it generally rains then clears, although we’re currently waiting for that.
It’s not really cold. Winter sports enthusiasts are mourning the loss of last week’s snow, the temperature not low enough for this to fall as such on the mountain, and what is there washing away and melting into rivers already overflowing and rushing down in torrents. It is noisy, a constant barrage on the corrugated iron roof, lashing against the house in sudden squalls. At least we won’t need to worry about cleaning windows any time soon. Neil, trying to Zoom into meetings, has to put on headphones so he can hear colleagues above the racket.
My friend Jenny texts to say she is watching a mini lake form in the park behind her house and hoping it stays mini. If not, I remind her, a waterside property is highly valued. Later, when she texts that the weekly fish delivery has arrived I suggest she point it towards us and let it swim over. Instead the lovely Neville takes one for the team, running down the road and collecting four orders to drop off on his way back home. He could have kayaked down and says he thought he’d just check we hadn’t all floated away. Unless the rain stops soon, I’m not discounting that possibility.
Postscript: as I edited this the sky lightened and the rain paused. I say ‘paused’ as, in the five minutes it’s taken me to import words and photos, it has begun to rain again. Metservice may have been right after all.