For someone who is used to Christmas being summer days, shorts, a tee shirt and barbecues, Christmas in Steamboat Springs, Colorado was a bit different – as it was for the whole team who travelled from a New Zealand summer to a Colorado winter.
We were treated to a white Christmas with about 3 inches of snow falling on Christmas Day, all of which led to a magical day. Dinner was roasted chicken and duck with all the trappings. Presents were under the tree and the kids played outside building a snowman.
Andre also continued a Christmas tradition of barbecuing the breakfast – despite the temperature.
Skiing? There has been some of that as well. Steamboat is vast with 169 trails spread over 3,000 acres. No matter what your skiing level, there are multiple runs for you.
And when you need to take a break there are bars, restaurants and cafes at the base of the mountain for that whole apres ski thingy.
Today – Friday 27th in the early evening it’s -17 degrees celsius. That’s 17 degrees below zero. That’s quite cold, with more snow forecast over the weekend.
As we move from August to September the weather in Positano shifts slightly. The temperature is still late 20s, the days can be humid and “close” but there is a bit of rain about.
Since our arrival the locals have been bemoaning the lack of rain. Too dry for too long is the general feeling. Well that has changed in the last few days.
We have seen some stunning displays of lightening and thunder in the evenings – but with no rain – until Tuesday afternoon when it rained. Not just a few spots here and there, it was a full blown tropical downpour.
It lasted about an hour and then normal transmission resumed – the sun came out, the water dried up and we went to dinner, sitting outside under the stars.
The weather in England while we were there was most un-English. The temperature hovered around 22 degrees and the sun was out almost constantly. Ideal for enjoying dinner sitting outdoors with friends. Neil and Jayne and their 4 boys live in … Continue reading →
Having successfully survived Wellington’s recent storm, we started to think of other storms we’d been through – and the one that sprung to mind first was, funnily enough, an Italian storm.
It was during our stay in Positano in November 2011. After unusually good weather we were warned by the locals that the weekend was going to be stormy. It happened to be a weekend when we had visitors from the UK and New Zealand staying with us at Villa Greta.
Now, please understand, by storm we mean weather that was less than idyllic. Which involved wind (a bit), rain (not a lot) and seas that were rough (all to be taken in context of the Med just being a giant bath).
Our Saturday started with a visit the the beach at Positano and a late breakfast at Buca de Bacco. Apart from a strong breeze and the overcast conditions the only clue that there was a storm was the surf hitting the wharf. But despite the poor weather the resident beach artist was painting – as he does every day – a beautiful sunny vista full of blue skies, blue seas, bright sun and Bougainvillaea cascading down the sides of houses on the hill, somewhat at odds with reality.
In the afternoon we drove down the coast to Amalfi. The roads were treacherous and largely awash in places. The Amafi Coast has no real storm water drainage system – other than the water rushing downhill towards the sea as fast as possible – down streets, across roads and over cliffs until eventually ending up in the sea. This system meant we were often driving along roads more like rivers and through villages where every lane was a steam cascading towards the sea.
In Amalfi the sea was crashing against shore and the sea side carpark that we had used only a few months previously in summer was now forming the breakwater and largely underwater. The wonderful thing was that, by the time we had driven up from Amalfi to the top of the cliffs to Ravello the weather had cleared and we had magnificent views looking east along the coast towards Salerno. Normal transmission had resumed.
Through the eyes of an artist it’s always sunny
Waves breaking over the wharf at Positano
Amalfi taking a battering
The carpark has become the beach
More of a beach
Now part of the sea
Cattedrale di Sant’Andrea/Duomo di Amalfi
Amalfi – built into the cliffs of the peninsular
Normal weather returned in the afternoon – Ravello looking east
Wellingtonians are hardened to winter wind. Wind that anywhere else would be called a gale is referred to as a strong breeze in Wellington. Any wind that doesn’t physically blow you over is a mere zephyr. It takes something exceptional to get the attention of Wellingtonians.
Last night the weather had our full attention. A storm that originated at the South Pole has been sweeping up the country over the last 24 hours. For everywhere other than Wellington it meant snow but for us it meant rain -with accompanying gale force winds up to 140km/h.
At one point 25,000 people were without power partly due to trees being blown over and taking power lines with them. House rooves started to lift and outdoor signage took to the air.
Our place took to shuddering as each gust of wind arrived and the curtains bowed out from the windows as the wind found new ways to sneak into the house. The garden took on the look of a bomb site as leaves and branches and rubbish bins and patio chairs blew around settling far from where we last left them. Both Poppie and Bella simply refused to go outside and everyone decided the best place to be was in bed.
This morning the full extent of the damage became apparent. One of the olive trees we planted about 8 years ago had succumbed to the wind and lay parallel to the ground. We had talked about removing this tree over summer but couldn’t bring ourselves to do the deed – to wield the saw. It’s ironic that mother nature has done it for us.
Yesterday the first cold southerly blast of winter arrived. The temperature dropped from around 15 degrees to 7 degrees. Snow fell in the Southern Alps and on the volcanic plateau in the North Island closing roads and causing general chaos.
And snow fell on the hills around Wellington. When we woke this morning and looked out the window, the view across the harbour included an early season dusting of snow.
Today is a beautiful sunny day but the temperature is hovering under 10 degrees in the shade. Thankfully the wind has gone and things will continue to improve towards the weekend – when winter officially starts.
Today the first winter southerly ripped through Wellington bringing rain and wind and more rain. A few posts ago I talked about the piece of wind sculpture called the Zephyrometer. Today it was being worked to the limit.
Wellington has been experiencing a drought. It has been a dry summer and with no rain in the last 6 weeks all outdoor garden watering was banned a few days ago.
By Sunday we were down to 20 days of water left in the reservoirs around the city.
Presumably once that’s gone we will be forced to drink wine and bathe in champagne. And friends, any spare bottles of Perrier you have sitting in the cupboards, please send it this way urgently.
If you sense a little cynicism in this post it is only because I am a Wellingtonian and I just knew that the good weather couldn’t hold out forever. Yesterday and today the rains arrived.
Good news for the garden but bad news for the Wellington water supply – apparently. Because the catchment area streams and rivers have been so low and full of dust and dirt, the recent rain washed all this muck with it and became too dirty to be purified by the Wellington water system.
So the irony is that after 2 days of solid rain we have 2 less days of water available. Now, where’s that champagne?
After a spell of rain and bad weather, yesterday started as a sunny Wellington day. It turned ugly in the afternoon – in about 30 minutes. From our place the view of the southerly front rolling in was quite dramatic.
The view from our place to the sea – missing the sea because of the mist and rain
After weeks of glorious weather the day we arrive in Pohara the rain started. Well in truth, the rain started in Nelson and followed us over the Takaka Hill. The hill is a challenging drive in fine weather but with a mix of rain and mist it becomes doubly exciting – particularly as the traffic includes numerous camper vans and cars towing boats. It’s only the raw power of the mighty Falcon ute that means we can keep up a decent pace.
We arrived at “our place” for the next few days with light rain falling. Somewhere in the recesses of my brain I recall that, according to Maori mythology, rain is seen as tears of the gods which is good luck.
Hopefully good luck that brings fewer tears and more sun over the next few days.