Saturday, February 05, 2005

wet wet wet...

Have you ever looked out at your lawn turning brown and muttered "Gee, we need some rain"?

Be careful what you wish for.

Tuesday was really hot and sunny. Wednesday we had a few showers. By Thursday morning it was raining steadily.

By the time I went out on Thursday it was pouring; I stopped at a traffic light and the rain was coming across the car's bonnet horizontally.

The first five minutes of the radio news was devoted to roads that were closed, yachts that had sunk and areas that had been blacked out by trees falling on power lines.

Last Thursday I had arrived at the office wearing the lightest summer shirt that I owned. This week I was rather damp despite being bundled up in my old raincoat and a fisherman's cap.

By the late afternoon it had begun to ease. When I drove home from the office I could actually see a tiny piece of blue sky off in the distance.

The fact it had stopped raining almost made up for discovering a leak in the ceiling of the dining room that had ruined a couple of magazines that had been in just the wrong place.

It could have been worse though – compared to Launceston and Melbourne we got off lightly. I think Melbourne had its wettest day for 150 years!

The folk at the Met Office explained that it was the result of an unusually intense low-pressure system. As it crossed the continent, summer gave way to gales, rain, hail, snow and even huge dust storms across four states.

A busy 48 hours for the emergency services.

But Friday morning the sun was actually shining. I looked out the kitchen window and shook my head in disbelief. "Weather!" I grunted, and turned to making breakfast.

The other morning we had a visitor turn up at the back door out of the blue.

"Hello, my name is Paul. I did some work for your sister at her place last year."

Yes, I remember you.

"I lost my drivers licence for a few months so I wasn't able to do any more jobs for a while. But I think I still owe your sister a bit of work."

Well, that's good of you, I said.

"But I'd rather not go back to her house. You see, I've had some trouble with mental illness and there's something about that place that upsets me."

Oh. OK....

"I'd be willing to do some work here for you though to make it up. How about if I come round Saturday and cut back those blackberries in your driveway?"

Yeah, that sounds all right.

"Right, I'll see you then."

As he went off down the street, I couldn't help thinking to myself: I just hope he leaves the chainsaw in the truck.....

A worried phone call last night from a friend of Julie's. She'd arrived home from an overseas trip yesterday and had received an abusive anonymous phone call from someone almost as soon as she stepped in the door.

Apparently one of the national television programmes had run out of news items and had aired a segment about a legal problem she was having with the people next door about a property dispute.

Naturally, in the style of so-called "current affairs" television, they had painted everything in black and white, with Julie's friend coming out of it as though she was Joan Collins' character in Dynasty and the neighbours being represented as poor defenceless innocents.

Oh please!

It really annoys me when such programmes go for the such a trite and superficial treatment of the issues. If they can't give a balanced treatment of a simple neighbourhood dispute, what hope is there for them to treat important matters with any judgement?

Not to mention the privacy question. The television show identified her by name, mentioned what suburb she lived in and where she worked. No wonder she's getting crank calls from drones with nothing better to do than watch tabloid television.

Also on the tube this week, we've had a raft of new programmes in the comedy, drama and infotainment sectors. Julie had no trouble watching My Restaurant Rules, but the following drama, the premiere of Lost was another matter.

My sister has always been very sensitive to atmosphere and suspense in drama, so this menacing melodrama set on a desert island haunted by who-knows-what practically had her hair standing on end.

When it finished, I asked if she wanted to watch anything else. "Yes," she said through trembling lips, "show me something light and fluffy."

After a moment's thought, I dug out my Northern Exposure DVD and we watched episode #1 in which Doc arrives in town and meets all the quirky locals. After an hour of that she felt a lot calmer.

I call it DVD therapy. Maybe the medical profession should look into it instead of prescribing all those tranquillizers and anti-depressants.

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