I have to say that I, along with many others I know, am heartily sick of all the hysterical hype regarding Weather Events. For days we were warned that a Very Nasty Episode was heading our way in the form of Cyclone Cook. Maybe the name should have told us something – Cook? Not an altogether seemly name for a cylone is it? As parts of the country were still mopping up from the tail end of Cyclone Debbie and the greater part of the town of Edgecumbe was still under water this wasn’t terribly good news. The demeanour of Dan the TV weather man grew more animated as the days passed because THIS was going to be a once in a generation affair, the likes of which most of us had never seen and would be most unlikely to see again. Radio talk shows repeatedly referred to The Waihine Disaster of 1968 when an inter-island ferry went down within sight of the Wellington foreshore with the loss of many lives. THIS was going to be at least as bad, if not worse was the dark warning disseminated by the MetService and we were all advised to take it very seriously indeed. The Ministry of Education therefore advised a large number of schools and early learning centres to close. MetService warned that some areas could expect 250mm of rain in 48 hours and gusts of 150km/hour or more together with large waves in excess of five metres and storm surges. In Auckland the Harbour Bridge was likely to be closed, all ferries cancelled and the dangerous looking new fangled double decker buses would not operate. On Wednesday one meteorologist said that in her opinion the public was not taking the approaching storm seriously enough. The advice was now that Easter trips should be cancelled and we should all stay home unless it was absolutely necessary that we ventured out.
So you can see why Jennifer and I felt quite heroic in our decision to still maintain our second Thursday of the month coffee meeting downtown so close to that dangerous foreshore where we might be caught out by a tidal surge at any moment. But then we are both British and women like us are not easily intimidated by trivia such as cyclones. You could say there is more than a little of the Dunkirk Spirit in us. So, not to put too fine a point on it we met as usual outside the Old Post Office, now the New(ish) Station, carrying mini umbrellas as a precautionary measure and feeling like Warrior Queens – and that’s probably because we both spent our formative years in the general catchment area of the Iceni and learned a great deal about Boadicea at primary school.
As we nervously sipped cinnamon topped cappuccinos Jennifer did concede that she might give the cathedral choir a miss that evening and I agreed that she was wise not to tempt fate by venturing out twice in one day. Our coffee date was shorter than usual on account of fate tempting and possible ferry cancellation at a moment’s notice. I wisely decided not to walk back to Parnell via the waterfront, my usual preferred route, but took the Quay Street-Strand route instead past Scene One where Patrick and Alena live safely away from storm surges on the fifth floor. I stopped briefly at the supermarket on the way, fully intending to buy bread and olives but the place was so full of panic stricken customers feverishly stocking up on bottled water and radio batteries, I left immediately and was within another twelve minutes safely home again. The Husband was relieved to see me safely back and said that he had just heard that the University had closed early.
And so we waited – and waited – and waited some more and in the end Cyclone Cook gave Auckland a Big Miss. We experienced a moderate shower or two, no wind at all and this morning the sun shines as brightly as ever! Over breakfast coffee I complained bitterly about the forecasters. The Husband listened and simply observed that they never get it right when they predict a week of sunshine and high temperatures either. He’s right you know!