Daily Archives: September 22, 2009

Mondays Column – Chance of Rain 22.09.09

Hello Funlovers!  Sorry for the late post, hope it hasn’t ruined your week!  Cheers, Gb 🙂

Do you want to know what the easiest job in the world is?  Well I’ll tell you, Gladstone Weather Forecaster.  If you can scribble the following: ‘Fine, with the chance of a late shower’, then you are more than qualified to do the job.  Of course, the odds of us actually getting that shower are about the same as my prospects of pulling off a major Lotto win, but we continue to live in hope.   

When my parents were debating whether or not to move the family von Bray to Gladstone in the mid-70’s, one of the big selling points was the areas’ annual rainfall figures.  Living in Innisfail, where rain is measured in metres, and cane toads grow to the size of chihuahuas, the prospect of moving to a place where rain is an infrequent visitor did have its appeal.  And, as we drove into town, we were actually delighted to see how dry the surrounding bush was, and how none of the houses seemed to be coated in layers of mildew.  Tossing away our mouldy old gumboots we settled down, and at my new school I asked a classmate, “How much rain do you normally get during the summer wet season?” 

He scratched his head and thought for a moment before answering, “Not much.” 

Those two words have since proven to be the greatest meteorological understatement I’ve ever heard!  This year is a case in point.  Unlike the rest of the coastal towns and cities dotting the eastern seaboard, Gladstone residents were unique in that we were actually on our knees praying for Cyclone Hamish to ‘pop by’ and soak our parched region, just like Cyclone Beni, ‘The Benevolent’, did back in ‘03. 

Hamish approached, and, as towns up north disappeared under floods of Biblical proportions, we eagerly waited for our share as Hamish meandered southwards.  The weather site on the internet came close to crashing as I hammered it mercilessly, mouthing the mantra, “C’mon, c’mon, c’mon,” as each new report bought the storm closer by the hour.  When Hamish ramped up to Category 4 I did think for one moment, ‘Whoa!’ but I gave myself a bit of a shake, ‘Hey!  Just means more rain!’ I thought brightly.  Ingham vanished, Mackay wallowed, and Yeppoon was deluged.  Meanwhile here in Gladstone, we joined our fellow residents on an emergency supplies buying frenzy, emptying the supermarkets of anything not bolted to the floor, and afterwards I gleefully stashed away my hoses and sprinklers in hopeful anticipation.    

Well, Hamish, ‘The Horrible’, slipped by us during the night and sped south to inundate everything between Bundaberg and the border.  And how much rain did Gladstone get?  How much liquid gold was dumped on us by a category four cyclone, chock full of large clouds absolutely stuffed with rain?  Not much. Two whopping millimetres.  Which was slightly less than the amount of tears I cried the next night in front of the news, as I sat watching  footage of rivers down south bursting their banks, dams overflowing and smiling people strolling hand in hand along streets knee deep in water. 

Since then, I’ve done everything in my power to lure rain here;  polished the car, washed windows, concreted, organised fishing trips, picnics and bbq’s, aired out my tent, made rash promises to God, and so help me, I even did a rain dance.  The dance failed to attract any moisture, but I did earn some critical acclaim from the small crowd which gathered to watch my performance.   

The dry spell goes on, and the cheerful weather reporters from down south brightly announce, “… and if you’re heading to the beach this weekend, the weather will be fine, with the chance of late showers!”  At which point I call out to Long Suffering Wife, “Did you put the Lotto in this week?”  Because chance would be a fine thing indeed.


Filed under Columns, Writing