Wednesday, January 09, 2008

If you have been hearing about the weather problems in Coastal Queensland and Northern NSW, you may not have realised that little Norfolk Island has been on the other side of the big "low" that has been hovering over the area for about 2 1/2 weeks now.

When the rain started before Christmas, we were overjoyed, because any moisture at this time of year is a real blessing. No one minded that Christmas picnics and beach activities had to be put on hold. When the wet conditions continued, we really rejoiced, because this meant that water tanks were filling, and our parched gardens were having a much needed drink. As it continued on steadily for more days, actually enabling us to make our "annual average" by New Year's Eve, we noted that this would be helping to replenish our rather depleted underground water table, and streams would be running again.

It is mushroom weather - unfortunately these ones are not edible!

Then the cloud cover and rain changed to misty drizzle and fog. Every thing has become covered in mildew, and some of us started to feel as if we were suffer from the effects of "cabin fever" and light deprivation.

Although a hilly and volcanic island like Norfolk does not suffer from flood problems, there has been something of an "inland sea" on the flat area of Kingston Common to the south. This reminded us of the big December wet of 1989, when our boys, teenagers at the time, took their boats down there and sailed on the football oval, and clean over the fence of Government House.

We have tried not to grumble about the uncomfortable humidity, the mould on everything, the washing that will not dry, the electrical and electronic equipment that is affected by the dampness, and numerous minor inconveniences.

But there have been enormous difficulties for our airlines and our tourists and travellers. The planes from Australia have been unable to land in the wet foggy conditions, a problem comounded by a bout of mechanical difficulties the weekend before last. As I write, Friday's passengers have been unable to come or go. Visitors are stranded here, while those waiting to come have lost several days of their holidays, and have, understandably cancelled. Even a number of locals,have had their holiday plans frustrated and changed, and are unable to get away.
The shops are suffering, because the visitors need their funds and credit cards to pay for unexpected accommodation costs, and the new "wave" of potential shoppers have not arrived. Air New Zealand, flying different aircraft, and under a different regime and conditions, have been able to land, albeit with delays.

For our growers, it is grim - the summer lettuce have turned to mush, the tomatoes have split, the vine crops have rotted with mildew, and the young avocadoes and other fruits have been blown from the trees with the wind and the rain. We all face a lean time with regards to fresh fruit and vegetables over the coming months, as we do not import fresh produce. For us, it is always "seasonal" - and what a season it has been!

Nevertheless, we try to see the bright side. The island is beautiful and green, and the growth is lush. The cattle have plenty to eat.

The more tropical vegetation just loves the rain and humidity. Our vanilla plants, which have suffred in the last couple of years from the dryer conditions, have suddenly burst into flower.

There are toadstools and fungi all about, and when we have had some sun, I am sure there will be plenty of mushrooms . I found this little parade of fungi climbing a dead tree in the woodland - they actually climb much higher than the picture shows! It has also been reported that our luminous green fungi, once very common on the island, are re-appearing in gardens and wooded areas.

I am sure that Nature is rejoicing in this weather, even if we regard it as a mixed blessing!

The raindrops on the webs of our very friendly spiders make a really beautiful sight.

And there is beauty all around us. The day I first arrived on this island, 41 years ago, it was damp and misty, and I thought the sight of the pines in the mist very beautful.
Today, we hope some planes will be coming in. And the sun us trying very hard to shine!!


Anonymous said...

Love your blog Mary. Must pop in and show you my last week's creation .. Gaye

Lindi said...

Mildew on shoes and clothing is certainly a major problem, as is the effect on the Island's economy, but doesn't it look lush and green! Such a pretty place...I will have to plan a holiday there sometime.
I like your blog.

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