Friday, January 01, 2010

Fireworks aplenty

Photo © The Mercury, taken by Andrew Moody

We had a great New Year's Eve at home. It got up to 38°C, the hottest day in three years. (That's not the great part). We pretty much suffered through the day. We had organised a small dinner party, so some shopping and cooking needed to happen, unfortunately.

Elf's cousin Mac and family who are visiting from Dunkeld, Victoria came up for dinner, as did Imp, Ed and the girls. Mac and Priscilla are staying with her parents in Sandy Bay.

They have a modish multi-storey house clinging to a cliff. Mac has been put to work in the vertical backyard, raising bales of mulch using a rope and pulley system, and lowering bundles of weeds the same way. (Hobartians pay to dump weeds at the tip, and while we are there we pay for a few bales of mulch for the garden. Made from the weeds we dropped off last visit. Someone in local government is a genius).

Mac escaped from the chain gang to go angling up the Tyenna River, and brought us 4 lovely trout for dinner. Imp and I both thought (separately) - "ah, fish - I will augment this with more fish". I got a kilo of (cheapish) smoked salmon and she brought a fresh salmon about five feet long. We barbecued the trout inexpertly, but it was delicious.

Mac and Priscilla have 5 year old Charlotte and 3 year old Stirling (named after the old family property). Elf had dug out the inflatable pool, and all six kids were tumbling about in and out of it like seals.

About 8.30 the electrical storm started, way back over Mt Wellington to the west. At the same time a big yellow full moon was rising in the north. Hobart is not a thundery sort of place - we might get 2 or 3 thunderstorms a year. This was a big one. The early NYE fireworks were starting at 9.30, so after enjoying the natural variety for a while we all went up the hill behind the house to watch. All the way up there were huge flashes in the west.

When we got up to Wellesley Park there were already a few kids up there at the playground in the dusk. Michael was talking flat out as usual, when a voice from the darkness said "Michael!" and Michael said "Rohan!" "Michael!" "Rohan! It's really you!" etc for some time. meeting a classmate from prep, after bedtime, in a playground, just before some fireworks and during an electrical storm, is about the pinnacle of these kids' lives.

The fireworks were pretty good, they have moved them downriver a little which makes for better viewing from our preferred spot. The lightning behind us didn't let up. The thunder was getting louder. Mac said "There's a drop of rain - let's get going". There was a classic horror-movie style "peal of thunder" that presages a movie downpour, then: crash. We all jogged home downhill in the dark, trying not to fall (terminally) into one of the large aloe veras.

Everyone was happy but saturated. Towels. Coffee. Chocolate. It bucketed down for 20 minutes then stopped. The lightning moved over the city. Ed and I watched the lightning from our front deck - which only ever gets used on the occasional really hot night. It occurred to me that watching an electrical storm from the balcony over coffee after dinner is probably de rigeur in Sydney, Brisbane, Mumbai and Singapore.

Guests started making off about 10.30. By the time we tipped the boys into bed it was worth sitting up, although we had never meant to. (I gave up voluntary midnights around the time we had kids). The storm was still flashing spectacularly in the background as the midnight fireworks kicked off. Elf and I sat and watched it all - it was fantastic.

Happy New Year everyone.

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