No Good News Today

Following my First Word Friday post, I have to bore you all with some more weather details.

All this week, we have been hearing about Cyclone Gabrielle getting closer to our shores, and now it’s here, and here’s the update

Nothing more to say on the subject.

JB Wellington, NZ
Sunday, Feb 12, 2023


Five Word Friday

It’s Friday here in New Zealand and the first Friday of the month.
So please join me. No lightheartedness today..
My five words? –

Following the trials and tribulations of the recent devastating floods in the north of the North Island, we hear today that an earthquake occurred in the same area. We understand that this was a short, shallow quake at 4.8 on the Richter scale but this is enough to make even the strongest, most positive person feel they would like to throw up their hands and walk away.

Auckland is less than 400 kms from us, and here we sit in brilliant sunshine at 25 degrees.  

This is very strange because it is an acknowledged fact by those of us who live here, the weather is always better in the north. But it hasn’t been this year and the results are obvious to all.

Added to the woes, this is a holiday weekend celebrating the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.  “The Treaty of Waitangi is New Zealand’s founding document. It takes its name from the place in the Bay of Islands where it was first signed by Gov Hobson, Queen Victoria’s representative and 9 Māori Chiefs, on 6 February 1840.”

Because the day is always “Mondayised”, many people take the opportunity to have an extra, short vacation. unfortunately, for many this will not happen this year because so many of the areas to which these vacationers would be heading are now uninhabitable. So not only are the holidaymakers missing out but so are the hotels. motels, and all other places set up for the tourist trade.  

New Zealand is a small nation far removed from most of the rest of the world.  There are only just 5 million of us and so most of us have friends and relatives all around our small country. Collectively, we feel for them. 

Let’s hope Mother Nature soon decides that they have had enough and she gets back on her meds.

Ready for a walk

JB, Raumati, NZ
February 3, 2023
Daisydog sitting


The Day That The Rains Came

Photo by Olivia Basile via unsplash

We have had no rain here in Wellington for the past couple of weeks we have been enjoying long hot summer days sitting outside with a glass of cold wine or a G&T well into the evening

But on Friday morning, Mother Nature decided to let us know who was in charge and the skies opened and the rain poured down.  And all that day and the next it continued. The gardens all appreciated the rain but not so those still on holiday. You may have seen on your local television the floods that have been hitting the upper North Island. Chris told me she saw it on her news.  So, what we’ve had in Wellington is the tail end of that storm.

Today has been mainly dry and hopefully, that will give those people who have been flooded out of their homes time to sort themselves out before the next onslaught which we are advised will happen in the next day or so.

But for me, this was a full-on weekend. On Friday evening with a friend, I went to see Ottolenghi the Israeli chef who has taken the world by storm.  Before the show, we had dinner at a newly opened restaurant.  This restaurant really lived up to all that was promised on its website.  The show itself was a little disappointing.  I’m not sure what I expected. Obviously, he couldn’t prepare and cook food on the stage in front of us. In fact, he did prepare one cold dish made-up of a variety of items that he had on hand and of course, we could all see this on the large screen that was up above the stage. 

Then Saturday dawned and it was still raining.  it was a friend’s birthday and so we had planned to all meet for lunch. We went to a favourite cafe set in the beautiful Botanic Gardens here in Wellington. It’s a very pleasant place to be particularly when the sun shines but yesterday everybody and everything was drenched, but the weather couldn’t dampen the spirits of the “birthday girl” and her three close friends.

It was decided that it was such a terrible day that we would go to the movies in the evening.  The birthday girl’s husband would join us and once again he would be the only man with four women three of whom are widows.

We went to see the Lost King. This tells the story of Phillipa Langley and Michael Jones’ hunt for the resting place of King Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of Britain.    It certainly was a fascinating tale of this woman, Phillipa Langley, MBE, who got engrossed thinking about Richard III and from there she spent all her time searching until eventually, with the help of Michael Jones and others, and against the advice of most other people they discovered the resting place under a car park in Leicester. I n 2012 the body of Richard III was exhumed and laid to rest finally in Leicester Cathedral.  

And once again, it shows what a single person with a purpose can achieve.

Note – According to the BBC ” Richard III, who was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, was reburied at Leicester Cathedral. He was originally interred at the church of the Greyfriars, a 13th-Century monastic friary. The church appears to have been demolished during the reign of Henry VIII.

JB Wellington, NZ – January 29, 2023

Summer in Wellington

“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.”
Roger Miller, Singer, songwriter, & actor

Another Christmas has come and gone, another New Year’s Eve celebration followed it as always, and has also passed and now we are getting back to the everyday life that we know.

All the festivities and fun are great.  It’s always good to catch up with friends and family and what better time than at Christmas and New Year?  But don’t you feel rather flat when the day has passed, the friends have left for home and things are really no different than they were on December 24th?  If like me, you were lucky to receive some gifts and now you have a few more ‘things’ to find places for, you will be adding the fact that you have friends and family who care to your Gratitude List.

After a spell of summer weather, the worm has turned and as I said in my last post, for the past few days we have had really wet weather.  So what to do in the face of this awful weather?  Another new book to read or maybe just look at some of the posts written at this time over my blogging years, in my blog Growing Younger Each Day.

I see that on January 2 in 2013, I was again bemoaning our awful summer weather.  But I also commented on a TV programme I had just watched. In this programme, Rhys-Jones introduced us to Kenneth Grahame, the retiring scholarly man who wrote this story for his somewhat troublesome only child Alistair.  At the time, Grahame was the Secretary of the Bank of England.  He had written some books about children for adults but this was the first (and only) book for children. Do you know this fabulous fable?

The story is set along a riverbank.  In fact, it is subtitled Tales of the Riverbank. We are introduced to the kindly, self-effacing, industrious Mole (Grahame himself perhaps?), Rat, Badger, Otter and of course the incredible, irascible, Mr Toad.  Who hasn’t met a Mr Toad in real life?

These woodland animals are given human characteristics and live an indolent life on the riverbank, often messing about in boats.

But Toad it is who fills the book with his antics and exploits.  He is very sure of himself and he is very conceited.  He sings about himself  “Ho, ho!  I am The Toad, the handsome, the popular, the successful Toad”.  And he thinks that he alone knows anything.   Consider –

“The clever men at Oxford
Know all that there is to be knowed
But they none of them know one half as much
As intelligent Mr Toad”

When Toad sees a shining red motor car he cannot resist it and drives it off eventually being caught and being sent to prison –

“The motor-car went Poop-poop-poop
As it raced along the road.
Who was it steered it into a pond?
Ingenious Mr Toad!”

The book was originally published in 1908 and  my copy of the book is 55 65 years old, well read, well-thumbed but still securely bound in spite of that.

Quite late in life, by then considered a confirmed bachelor,  Grahame married the shy and retiring, scatty and whimsical Elspeth Thomson.  They had only one child, a boy named Alastair (whose nickname was “Mouse”).  Unfortunately, he was born blind in one eye and plagued by health problems throughout his short life.  It was for this child that the book was written.

So then I was glad for a cold, January evening that allowed me to find this programme on the TV.  I thank Rhys-Jones for taking us along the riverbank and telling us about Grahame and his strange little family.

And as an aside in 2010 a First Edition of the book was sold by Bonhams in London for 32,400 GBP

JB Wellington, NZ
January 8, 2023

It’s Official

I know you were/are absolutely sick of hearing me moaning and complaining about the wet weather we have endured this winter. Oh yes, I know it has been a very hot summer for all of you in the Northern Hemisphere, but here in Wellington, it has been wet! Incredibly wet and now we have the official figures to prove it.

Today we got new rainfall figures from Greater Wellington’s Environmental Science team to confirm that last winter was the wettest on record, following the misery of a summer that was also the wettest on record in the Wellington region. 

The figures we are told, and on which we have to agree, “paint a portrait of suburbs soaked and districts drenched by record amounts of rainfall which exceeded many of the previous highest totals recorded across the entire region. On average, June rainfall was approximately 160% up on long-term seasonal averages, with July coming in higher at 200 per cent and August at 170 per cent. 

“The main causes of the extremely wet pattern were three-fold, says Climate Change scientist Dr Alex Pezza. 

“Background global warming increasing moisture in the air and leading to higher rainfall, a third consecutive year of a developing La Niña and the development of semi-permanent marine heatwaves around New Zealand. 

“These factors contributed to an enhanced northerly flow and formation of the phenomenon known as ‘atmospheric rivers’, which brought large amounts of tropical moisture into our region. The compounding factor of the wet seasons is important and has led to lasting, disruptive and expensive consequences, says Dr Pezza. 

“A chain of significant rain events effectively prevented our saturated soils from drying out, contributing to the severe slips seen in many areas of the capital by the end of winter.” 

And just for your edification, this was our driveway for a couple of days during the worst of the rain.

And today almost as if it is mocking our joy that Spring is here, it has poured nonstop from early this morning, and still, it rains!

End of rant about the weather, except..

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain
falling on the sunshine…” 
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

JB September 30, 2022
In a very wet Wellington

Everybody’s Talking About It

What does he know? He’s just a bear with very little brain.
Not much dancing here.

There is only one thing on everyone’s mind today – Rain and it’s consequences.

Click here to get the scene playing out in the South Island.

And in the North of the North Island it in’t much better. Here in Wellington there have been major slips and landslides cutting off some communities.

Enough said.

JB. Wellington
August 21, 2022

Grappling with Graupel

Friday, April 8th 2022, 9:18 pm – Southern Ontario was hit with multiple rounds of what appeared to be hail this week, but it has a whole other name for it. So sayeth the wise ones at our meteorological centre.

It seems the old if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it is a duck, doesn’t work here. What looks, feels, and even sounds like hail isn’t actually hail. It’s graupel.

We are told, ‘Over the past few days, a stormy pattern set up across southern Ontario, with isolated showers and thundershowers in some locales. Among the storm reports were photos and videos of ice, something that resembled hail. In reality, what you saw was actually graupel. 

In meteorological terms, a pesky, closed upper-level low stalled out over the region. This brought cold air aloft down to the surface through convection with some strong winds, which were contributing factors in why we saw graupel.’

‘Hail is a type of icy precipitation that occurs in thunderstorms. Strong updrafts within a thunderstorm carry moisture to the top of the cumulonimbus cloud, where the moisture freezes into ice. This process continues until the hailstone becomes heavy enough that gravity takes over and it falls from the cloud.’

So there you are. Something new learned in a month when we seek blooming gardens not falling ice!

It’s always a good day here at North of 43 when something new is learned. Even if if is falling ice. In spring. Oh and snow expected tomorrow.

Chris G April 9th, ’22

In like a Lamb Out like a Lion????

Photo by Pixabay on

I woke up to ice this morning. Falling from the sky.

The actual saying is: In like a lion, out like a lamb. Some years that works out, others not so much.

According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the weather folklore stems from ancestral beliefs in balance, meaning if the weather at the start of March was bad (roaring, like a roaring lion), the month should end with good weather (gentle, like a lamb).

I like how it says ’Freezing Rain possible’ as ice was hitting my window

But it does seem to have paused. I guess the best word for this moment is dreich as I described in this post here.

So this has become a Writing Day staying dry, warm, and hopeful. On my window sill sits a harbinger of spring, the perfume of which takes me to fields of flowers, rustling trees, chirping birds…well you get the idea.

Hyacinth waiting to go outside – weather permitting of course.

So from North of 43 I wish you a pleasant day regardless of weather!

Chris G March 30th ’22