A snow storm blew in mid morning yesterday and continued for the rest of the day leaving us with a foot or more of snow to deal with. We were out most of the day for our history lesson, followed by cross country skiing. Skiing in amongst the trees kept us from the bearing the brunt of the blowing snow but by the time we finished my hair was two big white clumps of snow. Our homeward trip was a little slippery in places; by this time a lot of snow had fallen and the van had trouble getting going again after it stopped at stop signs.
This morning we woke to bright sunshine but a white, white world. Four of us did some tag team shoveling in order to get out to music lessons and orchestra. Although we live very close to a main road, our own street is often not plowed until well after the surrounding streets. Once out of the driveway I immediately became stuck in the street. Andrew and a couple of neighbours helped push me into the “ruts” so I could drive fifty metres and get stuck again where our street joins the main road! They pushed me out again and we were fine until I attempted to return in the afternoon.
On entering our street I was happy to see the plow had been by, but as I turned the corner I realised the plow was only a few houses ahead of me and the cleared space in the road was only one car wide. I reversed out again, ran an errand, giving the plow time to finish and Andrew time to clear the entry to our driveway. All this detail may seem quite unnecessary to those to live in this city too, but I am still amazed by the whole “snow removal routine” which must be put into practice every time a storm hits. So it is for those who are have never experienced what is now a familiar part of my winter.
After rehearsal were over we met up with a group of people Andrew works with to skate on the canal. It has been open for just over a week and was full of people. The weather was great for skating not too cold and not too warm, just around -4°C. As it was a family skate, I did not feel too bad about my shaky style, there was a 5 year old with the same technique. We spent an hour skating before enjoying a potluck dinner and heading home. The night was not over for the girls who are playing at the Viennese Ball tonight. Stellae Boreales has two time slots finishing at midnight!
There are several comments that come to mind. The first is being grateful in the obvious improvement in your health. I can’t imagine you cramming as much into the day unless you were much improved. I am sure your mother would add a comment about being careful that you do not “overdo” it. But we are glad.
A second comment must relate to the wintry conditions. We Aussies see the beautiful snow scenes and the calendar pictures of the world’s longest skating rink. We know, too, that your city has an efficient snow clearing program for the roads and streets, but you ahave given a balancing picture of the impact of the weather upon your daily lives and movement. I am sure that we would enjoy a visit to the local park when the trees are laden with snow, or even trying our skills at skating on the Rideau Canal, but I don’t envy the experience of shovelling snow or pushing cars. So we will have to be content with the pictures and stories.
A third comment relates to the weather here. After several years of drought and summers which have been marked by extreme bushfire conditions, we are this year experiencing summer storms, high rainfall and damaging floods across much of the country. The rain has brought relief from the dry conditions to much of the country, although drought continues in many areas and the road of recovery will be long.
You have probably read of the Queensland floods, but may not have had the reports of the almost daily summer storms across Sydney. Huge rainfall totals, but sadly much of it flowing to the sea rather than the catchments. Graffitists were drowned in storm water drains. Western suburbs have been hit several times by hail the size of cricket balls. They impacted 3-4 inches into the soil and in some suburbs whole streets have houses covered with blue or yellow tarpaulins provided by the State Emergency Services.
Finally, congratulations again to the performance artists. I am sure that the appearance at the Viennese Ball was greatly appreciated. I imagine a household of tired people at the end of the day.