Saturday, February 07, 2009

It's the end of the world as we know it

I'd get us all to sing along, but it's too hot. At 45.3 we are only .3 of a degree away from our all-time record heat for Melbourne. (I see it's 47 at Avalon, 50 ks south west of here.) What makes it particularly apocalyptic is the dreadful north-westerly wind blowing at gale-force. The garden has been struggling for two weeks, and there has been no rain for a month. So many of the plants today look as if they are just giving up, and I've just been outside to bring in anything in a pot, and put it in the bath.

All over Melbourne the deciduous trees are just dropping their leaves, so it looks weirdly autumnal or wintry, except for that constant checking, just to make sure you haven't accidentally switched on a heater or an oven. How else could you account for that movement of hot air inside the house?

The perch we had to move a week or so ago have all died: they are really cold water fish, and couldn't withstand the shallower levels of a pond with a leak.

It's not been too bad (relatively speaking, of course) over the last few days, which means half the house — the downstairs, brick part — is tolerable; but the upstairs and the back half, made of timber, are both unbearable. It's quite schizophrenic, moving into the kitchen and out again. But I'm only just now, in the early afternoon, switching on the fan in my study.

And of course it's worse further north and east of here; and worse again if you are old; or sick; or fighting a fire; or losing your power.

It also feels apocalyptic because of all the warnings that this is increasingly what our climate will look like (I just looked out the window and the sky has suddenly gone a dirty white: is that smoke? dust? topsoil?).

So it's surreal, but slightly calming, too, to be reading about Bacelli, the mistress of the Duke of Dorset who was reputed to have worn his Garter across her forehead while dancing in Paris...

3 comments:

genevieve said...

I believe it is smoke, Stephanie - from Kilmore.
It is also surreal and slightly calming to be reading Melanie Duckworth's Norwegian/British blog, Northern Lights - dark at 5pm, with snowflakes. Makes me feel cooler for a moment or two.

Stephanie Trigg said...

Yes, smoke makes sense, alas. Not quite the red of the Mallee topsoil I remember from the Ash Wednesday winds in '83.

For the record, I see Melbourne's max so far today is 46.4: a record. But that the cool change is on its way (now 4.00 pm).

I agree: Meli's blog, like my sister's reports of the kids staying home from school in London, is cooling. But all the same: climate extremes on both sides of the globe? not a good look

meli said...

I'm famous! Now I feel bad for not taking photos of all the lovely snow yesterday (I'd lent the camera to M for the day. Despite the fact that it actually belongs to him.) This morning it's all been destroyed by rain, which has just turned to sleet. Tomorrow it will dip far below zero, and I think the footpaths will be perilous for a while...

But Stephanie that just sounds horrible. I'm sorry about your fish.