30. Whither the Weather?

Don’t be put off by the title. It just happens to be the heading of a report produced last year by a meteorological office. Loosely translated it could mean ‘where is the weather going?’ Or, to put it more directly, what on earth is happening to the weather?

Today, in rural NSW, the temperature started at 10°C. This month is the equivalent of August in our previous life in SW France; a month when the country closed down for the summer holiday and tough luck if you urgently needed a plumber or electrician. Not a temperature to encourage you to have a day at the beach. Coincidentally, on the same day, 10°C was the high point for Madame’s sister near Paris; a welcome relief after -5°.

Add 20° plus 75% humidity and that was the weather here last week. Breathing was like inhaling through a towel soaked in warm water. Madame and I took ourselves off to the local cinema and its super efficient aircon. For two hours (with ads) we could cool down and enjoy what one critic wrote’ …. an enjoyable rom-com, which follows the story of two childhood friends, one of whom decides to go through with an arranged marriage back home in Pakistan.’  A UK tabloid dismissed ‘the flimsy narrative about Zoe (Lily James) being a wacky London gal who, underneath it all, just wants to snag her man! ‘

One mans meate is another mans poyson‘, said the English theologian Thomas Draxe, who was the first to print the proverb in 1616 in the form we now use. If you are a classicist then your money may be on the Roman poet, Lucretius, who is credited with coining (or just repeating!) the expression BC; “quod ali cibus est aliis fuat acre venenum” (what is food for one man may be bitter poison to others).

It was entertainment, for goodness’ sake. Madame and I enjoyed the colour, music and dancing (and aircon) even if the plot was rather weak. You can’t please all the critics all of the time. Who said that? John Lydgate, monk and poet 1370-1450, apparently. Adapted by Abraham Lincoln centuries later.

”You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.

A previous post, last October (28. Rain, rain go away…..), was devoted to the rain and floods. 2022 officially became Sydney’s wettest year, as a record held for more than 70 years tumbled. This dinghy didn’t stand a chance and filled up overnight.

So, where does the blame lie for the erratic weather Madame and I have experienced during our year Down Under? A weather expert pointed the finger at a rare, third, La Niña year in a row, which meant rain fell on saturated catchments and exacerbated flood risks.  (The name comes from the Spanish for “little girl”. El Niño, predictably, meaning “little boy”. Today’s useless fact.

Back to films. Our local cinema, open since 1915, is reputedly the oldest continuously running cinema in mainland Australia; its four screens can hold up to 560 people. For a rural town to have this facility now is exceptional.

But hard times hit the world of cinema as more and more people bought TV sets. Even the screening of well-known titles such as The Godfather didn’t stem the flow. So, 50 years ago (to the year) the local owners decided to take action. In 1973, the cinema was closed. The stalls were removed and the area turned into shops. Today, the largest one, fronting the main street, can offer you this, where you can spoil yourself (before or after the performance).

Inevitably the warm, glowing, popcorn fragrant foyer disappeared. The entrance now is down an insignificant alley that you can pass without noticing. Walk down this, in a side door, up the stairs and into the snug lobby and to a cordial welcome.

And the first film to be screened after the reopening?

This was a long film, comfortably over two and a half hours. In those days you sat through a supporting film and the world famous Pathe News (and probably bought an ice-cream from the usherette). Pathe captured some remarkable footage. In 1913 the newsreel cameraman captured the dramatic scenes when suffragette Emily Davidson threw herself in front of the Kings horse at the Derby and also the death of Donald Campbell in 1967 whilst attempting to break the world water speed record.

Where did all this start? With the weather, of course, what else? Next post: Mardi Gras.

Weather picture courtesy of NOAA SciJinks.

Published by Down Under diary

Down Under diary

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