Jane Bowron: Holiday season blues - bird shot and bad weather
OPINION: Yesterday I cleaned out the car, one of those jobs I had been putting off for an absolute age.
There's no garage at my digs and the car appears to be on the bull's eye flight path of continuous bird shot. I don't know what these birds are eating in this 'hood but I reckon the loose splodged nature of their deposits could give a freedom camper a bloody good 'run' for their money.
Be that as it may, as I was rearranging the disarray of the car back seat, hoping to find the favourite sunglasses I lost some time ago, I came across the beach bag piled with sun screen, towel and togs – all the paraphernalia of the beach. The sight of it made me so cross I took it into the house and hurled it to the back of the wardrobe.
So dispiriting is the weather in the capital I've finally abandoned any hope of summer being a going concern. For weeks I've been toeing the party line and have sunnily agreed with my fellow Wellingtonians that the weather is on the brink of coming right – any day now.
I've heard it from my own and others' lips so often it makes me want to spew, and I just don't have the energy to give voice to it anymore. Consistent bad weather can make you fall out of love with a city and yearn for that happy day – the appearance of a cracker day and the chorus, "You can't beat Wellington on a good day." The streets of the capital have become cleared-out empty canyons, echoing bitter cold winds that really have no business turning up in the holiday season.
The days in between Christmas and through till mid-January are rudderless and meaningless. Like a piece of cloth left over at the end of the reel, this time of year sans the sun is hard to know what to do with.
Tourists, having been assured that the weather in New Zealand is fabulous from October till January (yeah right), arrive and look bewildered, dragging their wheeled suitcases over the clattering cobblestones to quit the city and cut short their visit.
Those who stay find the brevity of our New Year celebrations and lack of Yuletide Christmas municipal decorations rather odd. I'm proud of it being low key and loathe fireworks and the ephemeral nature of displays burning up ratepayers' money in seconds, not to mention the unwelcome New Year's Eve kisses of drunken tongues.
Thank God for the head-down escape of books and movies. On the vilest and windiest day of the season to date I took myself off to movie theatres and knocked off three of the buggers in one day. Needless to say, they blurred into each other; the only memorable story sticking in the enfeebled mind when I finally departed the theatre was the clever science fiction of Arrival.
How sorry I felt for families clogging the vestibules queuing for kiddie-themed movies to entertain the ankle-biters driven inside by ongoing inclement weather. A childhood blighted by one dud summer can completely derail a family who can't let their hair down and let out their bottled up primal screams at the beach.
Call me mean spirited but I took pleasure from hearing tennis super star Serena Williams whinge about the swirling winds at the Auckland ASB classic that she blamed for her loss on the court. Take that, City of Sails.
Perhaps the weather in this far flung colony is going out in sympathy with the Queen's ill health and her fight with the nasty cold which has plagued Her Majesty throughout Christmas and New Year.
The Australian Monarchist League has told its members to prepare for the death of the Queen, warning that if she expires it will feel like a safety net has disappeared. Sixty years is a long time to live with an over-lord (or over-lady) Mummy and I would miss her po-faced Christmas message, though I suspect she will pull through and live to the ripe old age of her dearly departed mother.
The baby boomers are prepared, having already had a taste of royal deaths with Prince, the Thin White Duke and St Leonard Cohen slipping the coil. At least when HM dies there will be a decent inclusive funeral we can all attend by satellite instead of being barred from the groovy gate.
Sorry to don the toxic frock of the Grinch-ess and moan like the proverbial Milly about the weather. Perhaps the season has rearranged itself and will arrive late and come on all hot and heavy. Meanwhile there's nothing to do but wait, add another layer, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. It's the bikini waxers I feel sorry for.
- The Dominion Post