Friday, 24 August 2012

There was an Antarctic

blast yesterday. The day before had not been wonderful but yesterday morning I was woken by the flashing lights, rumbles and bangs of a thunderstorm. It was dramatic but fortunately short lived. What followed was rain and hail and wind - all straight up from the Antarctic.
There is no land mass between my little part of the world and the Antarctic, just the ocean. Brrrr.
My family spent four years living on an island just south of the mainland. My father was the principal of a very large school there. It took in all the children from the western half and centre of the island. The school itself was situated in the centre of the island on a plateau where there was no protection at all from the wind - and the wind came straight across the southern ocean from the Antarctic.
When my mother or I put the washing on the line we grew to expect that it would hang horizontally rather than vertically. The trees grew the same way. They were stunted spindly trees. If you wanted to grow anything else you had to protect it from the wind.
Going to the "general store", the only shop, meant bending into the wind. It was difficult to pedal my tricycle into the wind but, coming home with the shopping in the little tray on the back, was easy. The wind did most of the work. I just had to be careful that none of the shopping got blown away.
My brother and I lost countless numbers of kites made from newspaper and sticks. The strings kept breaking in the wind. If other toys were not kept inside they would blow around the garden and cause damage as well as be damaged.
My father kept the firewood in a corner of the yard, under a wooden structure made the previous owner - or perhaps the boys in the school had made it for him. We woke one morning to find the structure had collapsed in the wind. My father and two of the teachers spent a Saturday morning constructing something much sturdier.
The house itself was made fibro-plaster board. It was standard Public Buildings Department issue, the sort provided to all teachers who had housing supplied.  It would shake and rattle in the wind. We wondered it did not lift from the flimsy wooden posts it stood on and transport us like Dorothy.
It might have except that we were already in Oz.

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