The weather ... the great waiting game.
The waiting for the ferocious storm or the great cold snap which will leave the bird bath water frozen throughout the day.
It is a common question, given that everyone talks about the weather a lot because the weather rules your life ... not the government or the local council.
For it is the weather which determines plans for travel and outdoor events.
And it is the weather which can be blamed for the rise in sales of jackets, eiderdowns and red wine.
So the question is often asked, particularly when things are slightly unseasonably clement ... like 18 degrees in late July.
"When is it going to hit the fan?"
When is the cold snap to end all cold snaps going to blight the landscape.
"We haven't really had a winter," is one equally common line which emerges in weather conversations.
"Yeah, just the usual ... nothing to write home about," is the usual response.
Which is absolutely correct, for we are now into the first week of the last month of winter (as determined by the calendar) and the season capable of producing single digit temperatures has been, yeah, rather mild really.
However, one factor needs to be taken into account in this meteorological equation.
For (although I don't want to hex things at this stage of proceedings) this eastern seaboard province has, of recent times, become something of a bullet dodger.
We see and hear the dire forecasts yet they seem to ease off a tad when they arrive, although the east cape folk can't say that.
They've had a bit of a hammering.
In the twin cities of these parts we've just had some washing blow off the line occasionally and a few puddles up the driveway.
So, with spring already beginning to waken (there is blossom about now) are we being lulled by Mother Nature into a false sense of security?
Is she going to whip together the late season cold snap and deliver it just as we start searching through the lower drawers for sensible shorts and sunhats bearing the aroma of mothballs?
"There's always a late cold snap," is yet another common conversational component.
Dad used to predict such events and reckoned the spring days of early to mid-September were the times they would strike.
"Lambing season," he'd say.
"Always bites during lambing season."
Mind you, the lambs seem to start arriving in June these days so that doesn't really stand up any more.
The past few days were, to a degree, another case of bullet dodging.
We did get the forecast rain but, particularly across the coastal climes of Napier, it was just drizzle with a few showers thrown in every now and then.
Just the usual winter easterly stuff, and by Thursday there are hints the air temperature will rise to 18 again.
Indeed, nothing to write home about, although there is plenty for those meandering through their OEs up Europe way to write home about.
It is more than heat ... it is fire as well.
Parts of Europe have posted new records of temperature while other areas are approaching those records.
You reckon 36C would be hard to tolerate?
In parts of Spain and Portugal it has been tipping 46C.
And check out London ... it remains stalled in the 30s and on Sunday it was hotter than Singapore.
It is the sort of extreme and unwavering heat that can take lives and many have indeed been lost to it.
There were even forest fires in the greater zone of the Arctic Circle.
The last reports from the weather boffins effectively stated that this situation is set to continue for a time yet.
We're wondering if the heavyweight cold snap will eventually emerge here ... up in Europe they're praying for one.
And this all raises another meteorological question.
Is this ferocious application of heat driven by the blocked-up Gulf Stream a portent of things to come for the Southern Hemisphere?
Will the heat-harbouring El Nino borrow the Gulf Stream's blocking umbrella and put it up over these parts come November?
A couple of met' boffins have mentioned this possibility, put it that way.
However, I am reminded of another thing my late father would sometimes muse upon ... that after a mild winter you'd often get a foul spring and a wet summer.
In which case I would like the ask Mr MetService and Mother Nature for a ferocious cold snap to line up a fair spring and sunny summer please.
But just for a few days though, yeah?