Pity the poor bride who woke up in Napier on Friday to the sight of leaden skies and the sound of heavy rain.

She had planned a big outdoor wedding in a rural setting and had counted on sunny weather.

She had no Plan B.

She believed in the power of positive thinking and she had looked back at Februarys in Hawke's Bay over the past years and they had all been hot and dry.


What could possibly go wrong?

I have absolutely no doubt that everything - bar the weather - turned out fine.

Friends and family would have scrambled round and found an alternative solution -although knowing how pragmatic country mums and dads can be, her parents probably had a weatherproof marquee stashed away in a hay barn somewhere on the property just in case.

Brides may elect not to have an alternative to their perfect wedding scenario - parents of the bride will always have other options. Take it from one who knows.

But even though the rain put a dampener on some wedding days and numerous outdoor events like Splore, it's hard to complain.

I was in Napier for the fabulous Art Deco festival and the heavens opened on Thursday night.

On the one hand, the feather in my glittery headband may have drooped and my wet feather boa made me look more like a bedraggled chook than a fabulous flapper.

But all I could think of was how grateful the farmers would be.

I remember being in a cafe in the small town of Waipukurau some years ago when the region was experiencing a drought.

The drought broke - spectacularly - and the rain was so heavy it was impossible to drive.

We ordered another cup of coffee and settled back to wait it out.

As the rain pelted the roof of the cafe, a beautifully dressed older woman sitting opposite raised her voice above the sound of the rain on the tin roof of the cafe.

"Do you hear that?" She asked us, gesturing up above her with her tea cup. "That my dears is the sound of money."

And for farmers, it is.

Rain, or rather, the right amount of it, is the difference between profit and loss for many farms.

I also knew just how relieved the Hawke's Bay fire services would be.

Before the Port Hills fire in Christchurch blazed out of control, there were real concerns in the Bay that fires would take hold in Waimarama.

But fire crews were able to contain the blaze and now the heavy rain should have extinguished any remaining embers.

There was jubilation in Canterbury too when Friday morning dawned foggy and drizzly.

Goodness knows the crews who'd been battling the flames most of the week deserved a meteorological break.

It was another frightening time for many Christchurch residents and pretty much the last thing the beleaguered residents needed to deal with.

One person dead; 11 homes and two sheds destroyed; 400 homes officially evacuated with many more householders leaving as a precaution; more than 400 people fighting the fires with the assistance of 14 helicopters and three fixed wing aircraft.

It was a big deal.

And of course while the real work was being done in the air and on the ground, politicians were lighting their own metaphorical fires with Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee criticising the length of time it took to declare a state of emergency.

There will of course be a full inquiry and I would have thought that would have been the time for Brownlee to have offered that sort of unconstructive criticism.

Still, we're lucky the toll from the fire wasn't worse.

And lucky too that the rain came when it did.

We live off tank water at our place up north and my attitude towards precipitation has changed completely as a result.

Hot dry summers no longer mean long days at the beach topping up my tan - they mean water rationing and the ever present threat of fire.

So while for many people around the country, this has been a bad summer, for me a cloudy rainy humid summer that promotes lush vegetation and full water tanks is an absolute blessing.