How to lure a damp southerly

By Roger Moroney

Yesterday, just one day out from the first day of summer, Hawke's Bay imported Antarctica's most successful export - a very cold and damp southerly.

Okay, it was only 7.45am, but the previous morning at the same time it was 17C and a warming sun and blue skies underlined the cheerful opinion that "summer is upon us".

Which today it is, but yesterday was one of those ill-timed flies in the climatic ointment which reminded me of something a farmer down Central Hawke's Bay told me about a month back.

At that time the region was starting to blister as the rains stayed away, replaced by winds which had the threat of drought written all over them.

He laughingly suggested two options to break the "big dry".

One was to stage a seminar focused solely on how to deal with drought, and the other was to stage a one-day cricket international at McLean Park.

"Either one would do it," he said.

As the chilly southerly drove through the Bay yesterday I came up with another one.

Get three cruise liners carrying a total of more than 6000 passengers and crew to arrive in the Port of Napier at the same time ... and ensure one of them is the biggest superliner to ever turn a prop' in the waters of Hawke Bay.

The Bay's glowing tourism emblem is a shining sun, but when the first of the touring trio of liners arrived the gloom and temperature was lower than three cities on the edge of winter ... Shanghai, Tokyo and Rome all beat us by two degrees.

The irony was that all week the weather had been warm and pleasant, and the cruise liners which arrived on Tuesday and Thursday were bathed in sunshine.

Then, on the biggest day of them all, winter decided to arrive as well.

I get very precious about the city and province I grew up in - especially when a large army of travellers, keen to step ashore from a moving deck, arrive to embrace it.

Seeing empty seats and tables at usually bustling street cafes sparks a shiver in me.

But bless them, the scarf and jacketed visitors still came ashore steering courses for anything with walls and a roof - anything out of the wind.

My imagination ran wild, because all I sensed was their returning home and saying "it's pretty there ... but take a coat and a rug with you because it can get quite cold".

So mega-liners now join drought seminars and international one-dayers as a way to spark a damp southerly - the sort which had me briefly contemplating starting a fire. I was going to use an article about global warming to get it going.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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