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Blog: There is a silver lining

I was sitting outside on my deck last night – one of the rare evenings since Christmas that I’ve been able to do that.  Despite the thick clouds and showers (that arrived an hour later) the conditions were mild and pleasant out of the wind.

In October I took my first trip to Brisbane.  I have family connections with ABC News in Queensland (my cousin) and my Aunt and Uncle live just out of the city – and were flooded this time last year by those incredible flood waters.

It’s hard to imagine when you stand at their place – as they’re on the edge of a very steep hill.

As we walked around the property and looked at photos of the recent flood – and the ones back in the 1970s – I was amazed at how quickly everything had repaired itself.  The hot, wet, climate of Queensland means plants and lawns very quickly bounce back.

Back to Auckland now and while I sat out on my deck last night I had a flashback – as if I was back in Brisbane.  Auckland is well known for tropical plants which can flourish in this weather.  My garden is fairly tropical and the plants – and lawn – are in love with the rain and humidity.  Everything is green and wet and growing faster than I’ve ever seen them grow.   The soil is dark and rich and bursting with life.  It may not feel like Brisbane temperature-wise but there’s enough heat, humidity and moisture to keep gardens growing like crazy. 

But this isn’t the silver lining I refer to in my headline.

I was speaking to a reporter yesterday about the current conditions and we were talking about how relaxed people are looking at the moment.

No matter how you look at it, 2011 was a very stressful year for many of us.  Whether it was economic issues, the earthquake, floods or just the general stress of a very busy year which also packed in a general election and the Rugby World Cup.

Most of the people I know were so relieved to see Christmas and the summer holidays finally arrive.

However the weather had other plans.

It has rained most days in Auckland – and many other northern centres too.  If it’s not raining it’s cloudy, or windy with showers here and there. 

But there is where I come back to the silver lining.

People are actually relaxing.  We’re being forced to sit inside.  We’re being forced to travel less, to watch TV, to read books and play board games.  Now I realise one persons positive is another ones negative – camping grounds have not had the best summer, which seems so unfair after a tough few years of economic woes. 

Many people I know have enjoyed a quieter than usual summer break.  Sunnier weather means we get out more and do more – which is very healthy for our brains and to de-stress.  But something we don’t do enough of in this busy day and age – is doing nothing at all.

So perhaps one positive of our gloomy summer in the north, is that we’re all catching up on some much needed rest after a year many would probably prefer to put well and truly behind them.

– Philip Duncan


Sandy on 10/01/2012 8:52am

Loved the article! And you are so right, the sub tropical temps that we have here certainly make the gardens flourish. Sadly as I am a landscaper, I have to say that I am just loving the weather that we are experiencing, (for sake of the plants). However I have to complain that it has not given me the slow start to the year that I have grown attacted to over the last 8 years. My clients are all ringing to say they want their gardens brought under control after all the humidity and even new clients are ringing earlier then normal as they are not worried about losing plants to the summer heat. I would however appreciate it if you could order some, at least, half decent weather next week as I am taking the kids camping north of Warkworth.
Keep up the good job

Guest on 10/01/2012 5:21am

The silver lining for my family is that we live in the Mainland! Lived in Auckland for a couple of years and am pleased to leave the rain and annoying bug life behind.

Pipifrog on 10/01/2012 5:20am

Spot on! I have been tempted and fallen into occasional moaning about this dismal weather. But i run outside when its sunny and dry, and retreat back to my cave when its not. And you are right. It has forced me to do things i otherwise wouldn’t have in my summer break. I’m now 9000 words into writing a novel, and while my muse is here, I can only thank the weather that sent me inside to meet her.

sw on 10/01/2012 4:48am

Why wish the time away,maybe we should live it as we do,just because a new year its a continuation of life,a new year will the stress suddenly end?

Derek on 10/01/2012 4:05am

Great article Phil, totally agree with what you say. People do not sit indoors and enjoy family orientated things anymore so hence not as much relaxation & fun. Also a forced rest is very good instead of the daily rush we impose on ourselves.

Shane J on 10/01/2012 3:05am

If we’re looking for silver linings, I imagine there’ll be many lives saved this summer – the folks who would have developed skin cancer had it been gloriously sunny over the hols.

Paul Owen on 10/01/2012 2:11am

Yay for nothing!!

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