The Godfather: Peter Corris on spring
Some time ago I wrote a column called ‘The Umbrellas of Newtown’, hoping people would get the reference, although the film (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) was back quite a way. I wrote about the variability of the spring season – how a day could change suddenly from a blue sky to showers, how a wind could spring up on a still day, and how the old gutters of Newtown could quickly overflow, wetting feet and causing potholes.
Umbrellas were a theme of the piece; they bristled as retractables in people’s bags or were carried at the ready on the street by those sceptical of the sunshine. A strong wind easily collapsed the spokes of cheap umbrellas, turning the things inside out, and they could be found discarded in gutters and rubbish bins – and even, in a few cases I noticed, hanging from trees like broken birds.
People clustered in doorways and under awnings exclaiming about the weather, although everyone knew spring was that kind of season. I kind of liked its volatility and I think others did too. Predictability is boring.
How different things are this year. Where we live, at least, there has been very little rain through winter and into spring – mild weather and nothing of the ‘cold snaps’ we used to experience, apart from one or two blasts from the snowfields. There have been some strong winds but they’ve mostly been mild and consistent.
The streets of Earlwood day by day are as dry as the streets of Laredo; there are no umbrellas to be seen other than those the women, mostly Chinese, use as parasols. Still fewer raincoats. As likely as not the men are in shorts and some of our neighbours who are Brits complain of the warmth. Storms are predicted, the sky rumbles but nothing happens.
Although it’s been comfortable for going out and walking about, I can’t say I altogether like it. Were I still a golfer I would have been selfishly pleased; I could count on one hand lately the days in September and October, at least, on which it wouldn’t have been comfortable to play, whereas, back when I played, we were often inconvenienced in spring by showers and wind gusts. But that’s a minor matter; I’m not one of those, like Tony Abbott and his ilk, who argue climate change is more beneficial than detrimental. This is nonsense. ‘Greening of the planet’ may be occurring in some places but there’s roasting in others. Frequent and intense cyclonic disturbance is happening elsewhere, causing flooding and even drowning of vulnerable areas.
Jean laments the effect of the drought-like conditions on her garden but she can cope. The bigger picture is much more grim and as someone with young grandchildren I fear for their future unless humanity as a whole can with one purpose tackle the problem. Human history being what it has been, good luck with that.