Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I HATE the wind!!!

A very windy day in my garden. You know sometimes I think I must be completely crazy to live in Wellington. It's known as New Zealand's Windy City, and it can really blow sometimes! Thing is, I can't move away to somewhere calmer, because (apart from the wind) I absolutely adore Wellington, and I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be. Except on nights like tonight, when I would like to be anywhere else but here.

It's blowing a gale out there - again - and the whole house is shaking and creaking with every 130km gust. I hatesssss it!

The worst winds here are the northwesterlies. My house faces north-west (oh goody!), and sometimes I wish I had paid closer attention to the dramatically wind-blown shape of the trees at the top of my garden when I was first thinking of buying this place. It's too late now of course - I love my house even more than I love Wellington (which is a lot!), and I really can't imagine living anywhere else. Plus it would take me absolutely for ever to pack my stuff up and move, so I really can't see it happening.

Iain and Alice live in a lovely place at the head of a valley that faces east, so they hardly ever get hammered by the northwesterlies. I'm quite jealous of that sometimes! I feel better when I remind myself that facing northwest also means I get all-afternoon sun, but sometimes, like on nights like tonight, I do find it a bit hard to convince myself.

Many parts of the world have their "ill winds". There's the föhn (Alps), Mistral (southern France), Chinooks (western Canada and the USA) and the Sharav (Middle East). Scientific research has linked them to feelings of anxiety, stress, depression and sleepless nights. I can certainly relate to that! Both Christchurch and Wellington suffer particularly from the nor'westers, which can blow for days on end, and just about drive everyone crazy. They're usually hotter in ChCh than they are here, but the ones we've been having recently have been very humid as well as very bloody blow-y, and I think the humidity just makes it feel even worse.

Suicides, traffic accidents and crime levels increase in windy weather, and I know from my time as a teacher that a windy day can really make the kids crazy. A windy day around the time of the full moon is even worse... Animals don't seem to like the wind much, either. My cats definitely don't like it. It appears to be due to the positive electrical charge in the air when it's windy - and especially when it's humid as well. Humans and animals are much happier and feel much more positive when the air is negatively-charged.

I think for me it's the noise as much as anything else. I thrive on peace and quiet, and it's hardly peaceful or quiet in a howling gale! A particularly strong gust approaches with such an enormouse "whooshing" noise, and as it hits, the whole house shakes, and things bang around on the roof, and each time I wonder if this is the Big One. I guess it's the anxiety that either one of my windows is going to get blown in, or a tree's gonna fall down, or that my roof's gonna come off. What do you do if your roof blows off? Call the fire brigade? I really have no idea. It makes me grumpy, and up-tight, and stressed out.

I have the obligatory plastic sheeting and gaffa tape easily accessible in case I lose a window (in the vain hope that I will actually be able to fix it securely in place should that happen!), but somehow I don't think it would be anything like sufficient to cover the hole if my roof should take flight...

My poor old cabbage tree outside the front door has taken a hell of a battering this spring. It seems like it's been blowing non-stop for at least a month now, and I'm pretty sure there are fewer bunches of leaves at the ends of the top-most branches than there were 4 weeks ago. I'll have to get some old photos out and compare.

My back yard on a not-so-windy day. The beautiful maple tree which grows in my back yard had just put out its delicate bright green spring leaves when the gales began, and now the few leaves that are still clinging to the top third of the tree are brown and scabby-looking and not at all beautiful. *sigh*

Plus when it's windy you can't really do anything outside. Gardening's pretty much out of the question - it's no fun in a howling gale plus all the weeds you've just pulled up are likely to blow away in an instant, and you can't see what you're doing anyway 'cos your hair's constantly being blown into your eyes... bleagh. You can tell that this kind of weather really gets me down, eh?

At least my shed's fixed. That used to be my biggest worry, that one day it would simply blow away, but Kurt and Briget helped me fix it one weekend last summer, and now it's pretty sturdy. Thank goodness. This blog post from last May has a pretty full-on video I took of the biggest gale we've ever had. It was very scary. In the end I had to call my friend Bruce and get him to come over cos I was so frightened.

A big old pohutukawa tree in the park near my house came down that day. Fortunately we haven't had anything quite that bad since, but sometimes I just wish I lived somewhere where the wind didn't blow with quite so much enthusiasm. Mind you, it's certainly lovely when it stops...

Maybe I should just take up wind surfing or kite flying or something. Then I might really look forward to a windy day, instead of dreading it.

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