Friday, January 27, 2006

down by the Riverside

It was a beautiful evening last night, so I went for a stroll down by my local river, which is something I don't do very often. Actually I often go for a walk in that area - it's on the way to my local supermarket - but usually there isn't a river there. There IS a small concrete drain there which upstream and downstream from me is a creek, but on occassions, it shows its aspirations for something bigger.

Might back-track a bit. Yesterday was Australia Day, a summer public holiday, a day for beach and barbecue and carefully controlled fireworks displays over water in major cities. Yesterday also had a strong, gusty north wind, and a blazing sun, which, in late January, gives you 40deg C temperatures. Thats quite warm y'know! Better to seek shelter in air-conditioned comfort.

And so I went to the Cinema, and spent a couple of fun hours with The Producers. Not really convinced by Will Ferrel's German accent, and as for Uma Thurman's Swedish accent, who was listening?? Anyway, it was a lot of fun.

After that it was time to brave the heat for a spot of cricket training with the team. Considering the weather and the public holiday, we weren't expecting a big turn out but the half dozen of us had a good time throwing cricket balls at each other as the clouds gathered. Suddenly there was rain, coming in fast and heavy and almost horizontal. And with it, tiny, stinging hailstones. We laughed at the added difficulty, it was kind of fun getting soaked through in those conditions. Even though the temperature dropped 15 degrees in 15 minutes, it still stayed warm.

Eventually though, we thought enough was enough and went our seperate ways, after briefly contemplating standing in a cicle singing 'Four Seasons in one Day'. Driving home, I noticed that the traffic lights weren't working. I decided that I should pop in and visit mum and dad on my way, but there was a pine tree laying across the road where it had blown down in the squall. Some locals were chopping it up with a chain saw to clear the road. It takes something like this for people to show their community spirit.

I pulled out my mobile phone to call mum, just to check that they were home, and found that it was buzzing quietly to itself, and the display screen was half full of water....

I drove around the block and found mum and dad sitting in the silence of their powerless home. The electricity cut that had put out the traffic lights, had affected the whole neighbouhood. When I returned home, I also had no power. There was not much I could do. The rain had cleared, and the sun was back out, shining in a more caring, benelovent way, for it's last hour or so before sunset.

That's when I grabbed my walkman and went for a walk to the river. It's amazing that half an hour of heavy rain could turn 6 inches of drain water into a 15m wide, 3m deep raging torrent.
I bet it's back down to normal levels now.

The power came back on just as it was getting too dark to read, and we were able to see the last bit of Australia beating Sri Lanka in the cricket, and then Bahgdadis the Cypriot beating the Argentine Nalbandian for a place in the OZ open Tennis finals. This town is quickly becoming an outpost of Cyprus...

How did you spend your Australia Day?

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