Friday, March 23, 2012

Who stole New Zealand's Summer?

Everyone is talking about it---yes we didn’t get a real summer this year (2011-2012). It is a constant in many conversations, not just for older folk like me either. I even hear the kids at school lamenting the lost rays of sunshine that normally assail us in the south pacific. Of course they don’t quite use the words just scattered before your eyes.
For the elderly you hear talk of the ‘golden years’, when the sun shone every day and summer was always an ‘Indian summer.’ Their eyes glaze over as they remember their youth; a time when running was a joy rather than walking an effort. Picnics with family or lovers on white sanded beaches under the flowering Pohutukawa trees (we call it the New Zealand Christmas Tree, because it flowers around Christmas) come to mind; the sad times when things didn’t go perfectly, long forgotten.
It was the summer of the ‘big wets’, not just one but several, all of course on a much smaller scale than those faced by our Trans-Tasman neighbours in Australia. Visions of raging waters flowing through house, some of which had only cleaned up after floods the year before, come to mind, but like our Aussie neighbours, we clean up and start again. Hell we have had earthquakes and a mine disaster in the last eighteen months, so it takes more than a grumpy summer to quell our Antipodean faith.
You may ask--- what happened? Some say its ‘global warming’ other just the normal cycle brought about when it’s either El Niño or La Nina---stuffed if I know. One thing we can be sure of--- we don’t get rotten summers year after year like our former colonial masters in the subarctic North. My ‘English’ friends tell me of summers that consist of weeks rather than the months we usually enjoy.
Now just in case my fellow NZers in the South Island (they like to call it the ‘Mainland’) are reading this and are beginning to feel their feathers ruffling, then OK--- yes you did have a better summer. The West Coast and Central Otago have done very nicely thank you. Well that’s just great--- hell, someone has to have a long hot summer so that we can continue to harvest our wonderful wines: Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Late Harvest Riesling, just to name a few. The cherries and other stone fruit have been a joy too, so there’s not too much to complain about.
Are we down about the weather? Maybe some let it affect them, but perhaps the lack of performance of our cricket team causes as much consternation. I won’t go there, because my new readers in numerous countries will need a long explanation about what cricket is all about. That would be as difficult as getting my USA friends to explain the rules and ‘culture’ of American Football.
On and up I say. For those of you who love to ski--- head our way and sample some of the afore mentioned wines while you are at it. MMMM--- I can smell the roast in the oven!

Well this Easter, whoever stole it, gave it back