Christchurch is notorious for its nor’westers. The prevailing winds in NZ are from the west anyway, but the geography of the South Island conspires to intensify the wind in Canterbury. What happens apparently is that warm air from Australia travels across the Tasman on the prevailing westerly winds, picking up moisture as it goes. When all that warm moist air reaches NZ, it encounters the barrier of Southern Alps, causing it to dump all the moisture onto the West Coast (hence all the rain they get over there). The now dry air continues up over the Alps, then down onto the Canterbury plains, picking up speed as it goes (partly from the fact that it’s not being slowed down by all that heavy water now, and partly just because the dropping down off the mountains speeds it up). Travelling across the sun-warmed plains it gets even hotter, and hence faster. So by the time it reaches the east coast and Christchurch, it’s hot, dry, and very very fierce.
The upshot of all that science is that we spend the summer being battered by the wind, and irritated by the dry, dusty, static-y atmosphere. There’s a serious nor’wester blowing today, so not only do I look like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards (guess who walked to work in the wind today and forgot to bring a comb to work with her), but I’ve got serious hayfever from the dust (even after taking antihistamines I’m still sneezing and have red eyes), and thanks to the wonderful cheap nylon carpet in my office every time I take a couple of steps I build up enough charge to get a shock off the filing cabinets (I’ve also managed to zap the computer badly enough to shut it down, just by touching one of the USB ports!).
I can’t believe a month ago I was actually looking forward to summer…
In the end, only one of our potential visitors actually turned up on Saturday night: T, a friend of MrPloppy‘s. We had a nice evening anyway, and ended up playing 3-person Pictionary with great hilarity all round (3-person Pictionary is a variation we came up with when Fuzzle was flatting with us and we went through a phase of playing Pictionary all the time, but often didn’t have a fourth person to make up two proper Pictionary teams. So we came up with the idea of having 3 teams of 2, with each person being on two teams (i.e. with players A, B, and C, the teams are A and B, B and C, and A and C). The “All Play” rule doesn’t work, of course, but otherwise you can play as normal. The best bit is that you’ve got a 2 in 3 chance of being on a winning team! 🙂 ).
A fun night, anyway, and we told T we’d invite her back next time we have a proper games evening, so she can get to play Pictionary with the right number of people.
On Tuesday night we went to see meerkitten singing in the Christchurch Schools’ Music Festival. It wasn’t as good as last year, unfortunately – I didn’t think the selection of songs and music was as appropriate to the children’s voices or skill level, and the orchestra weren’t nearly as good (for a start, several of the instruments were so badly out of tune that even I could hear it – they didn’t properly tune up on stage this year (presumably to save time, because last year they ran badly over time) and it showed). But there were still some good bits, and when you consider the age of the children (8-12), even the bad bits were pretty impressive.
I had the day off work yesterday. MrPloppy had an appointment that he wanted me to come along to, so rather than take a couple of hours out of the middle of the day again I decided to just use up one of my last few days of leave for the year and take the whole day off. It was good, because we were able to get a few things done in town before and after his appointment: send a sympathy card to my stepmother (whose mother died on Saturday), get my Cat Dancing print framed, have a look for the threads I need for my next cross-stitch project (no, the Santa isn’t finished yet, but I’ve got a bit side-tracked by an idea for my next project), take advantage of Whitcoull’s sale to buy a new boardgame (Carcasonne) for our next games evening, and get a few other bits and pieces that have been on the “must get round to getting…” list for a while.
Currently reading: I, Cyborg by Kevin Warwick