22 September 2023

Weather you like it or not, we're in for some wild times - just stay cool

| Sally Hopman
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Flooded river near farm gate

Back in the day, when it rained, the rising river developed an up-too-close-and-personal relationship with the farmhouse gate. Photo: Sally Hopman.

Buckets of rain, buckets of tears, got all them buckets coming out of my ears.

Bob Dylan knew how to write a weather song. Although, the more you hear it, the more it sounds like a love song, which is perfectly fine. Hot even.

I miss the rain. I miss racing around after the first patter on the tin roof heralded the need for buckets. Lots of buckets. When you live in a house that’s older than dirt, measurements back in the day weren’t hugely important. Matching walls with the ceiling so the rainwater couldn’t come through, even less so.

But that’s why we (OK, probably only people like me) live in such places, for those sounds on the roof, the drips down the wall – remembering not to turn the light on till its shade dries out. Having lots of towels on hand – and under gaps in windows – if the carpet didn’t need a wash.

I miss driving the half a dozen clicks to where the dirt road of the farm met the bitumen to see that the river’s up again and that, in retrospect, it hadn’t been so crucial to get up at stupid o’clock so I’d get to work in town on time.

READ ALSO Why is it we humans are so obsessed by the weather?

But I did love taking pics of the river where the road used to be and chuck a uey and go home. Hopefully, the water level hadn’t risen too close to the Internet power thingy so I couldn’t finish The GAN (the Great Australian Novel, not the train) and would have to burrow under the doona or the dog, whichever wasn’t damp.

Not only is no rain forecast now for the next hundred or so years – well, that’s how it feels – what we can expect instead is a whole bunch of those f-words, one of which is fires, another of which is not floods.

There was a moment, or it could have been a dream, back in the La Niña Turtle days, when I thought about the idea of perhaps, maybe, but only if it felt like it, the rain could, um, stop, for maybe a couple of minutes?


When you drive off the farm to see the road into town under floodwater, there’s not much else to do – except, perhaps, a U-turn. Photo: Sally Hopman.

What the “f ” was I thinking? That’s what did it, you know. That’s why we have climate change, festering sores and Barry Manilow music. Because in my weakest, most ungrateful moment, I dared to want it to stop raining. Just for a bit. A moment. A splash.

I’m an embarrassment to my rural roots – which aren’t much to write home about since I’m from Bondi – but Drizabone all the same.

From now on, I’ll just stick to old-fashioned, tried-and-true ways of making it rain. None of this new-fangled climatically controlled methods for this little duck. I’m going to leave my gumboots out where spiders and all their relatives can move in, will Araldite my doona and most other heavy-duty items to the clothesline, and arrange some really important functions outside on a very regular basis.

If that doesn’t make it rain, I’ll call it a day, a bright, bright, sun-shiny day.

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