4 Jan 2013

hot in hobart

The last two days have been horrendously hot for Hobart (and indeed for much of south-east Australia).

Talk to anyone here and they will agree, somehow, that 24 (degrees) is the magic number for a good Hobart summer's day: not too hot that you melt, but warm enough that you can finally shed some layers and wear a sundress and strappy sandals (I have a disproportionate number of dresses and sandals for the actual amount of hot weather we have here).

Talk to most people only a few days ago and we were grumbling that we weren't getting a decent summer, that we were still wearing cardigans - that so far, it had been pretty ordinary.

Not now.

Yesterday, it reached around 35. Today the temperature in my driveway was 39; that was before noon. Not only has the sun been piercingly hot, making your skin feel oven-crisped in an instant, but the winds have been strong and relentless. Days of blistering gales knock about my birches and queen anne's lace flowers and larkspurs - well, everything - and steal any precious moisture that was in the soil, and make my vegies wilt forlornly.

Apart from the never-ending howl of the wind and the incessant banging of someone's wheely bin lid (doesn't it annoy the *%$! out of them as well???), it is quiet. Everyone is inside with the blinds closed against the heat and the air con on high. The birds are silenced, and that to me is the saddest thing. I keep three bird baths refreshed during the day so the birds know they can find some relief in this garden (while writing this, I have spied three different blackbirds and a small thinned-out green bird of some kind, sipping or just sitting in the cool water, so I know I am doing a good thing).

And I try to not to think about my poor garden. For a gardener of any standard, this kind of weather is upsetting, but there is not much you can do about it. There is a total fireban, so I can only bucket water from the small tank in the backyard, to revive the vegies; I can't worry about my front right now.

People think Hobart is cold and wet and miserable, and I probably thought that too before I lived here. But right now it is dry, so dry, and we are all withering from the abominable heat.

Update: I just got a text alert about fires near my parent's town. I rang mum, she said they are safe but there are 'fires all around' and dad is working the hoses and she had to go. And I was worried about the little baby chickens passing out in the heat - now I'm really scared.
Update: Mum just phoned to say power is all out, and dad is hosing the roof, and she has packed some treasures and is ready to grab the dog and some chickens (as much as I love the chickens, I can't imagine trying to grab them in a fire). She said the fire is in the paddock across the road from them. I am listening to the local ABC radio and the Tasman Peninsula is completely cut off... I don't think I can listen to it anymore, as it is freaking me out too much.
Please think good thoughts for my parents with me.


  1. Hello! Firstly thank you so much for the thoughtful comments on my blog yesterday. Much appreciated.

    Yes, it is so hot everywhere it seems. Broken Hill is predicted to be over 40 for the next 7 days. Sadly, my garden is totally melting, no amount of water can revive vegetables in this heat.

    I really hope your parents are ok, fire is so fierce and frightening. Stay cool and safe and good luck with the wheely bin x

    1. Thank you jane. Yes, i've watched the forecasts for the country and am amazed at the temperatures, and realise there are so many of us in terrible situations right now. I'm lucky i'm in the suburbs and can turn on the air con, get a cool drink from the fridge - i've heard the power won't be on for weeks in the fire-affected areas here, so how on earth will my parents and others there get by?
      And as my aunt said to me this morning, we are lucky we still have gardens to worry about.
      Thank you for your good wishes Jane.


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