As I was tapping the keys in front of me last Thursday (the keys on the keyboard not the back door keys) I could hear the sound of rain upon the roof.

For many it is a most soothing sound, and I have heard about people who find it of great assistance in getting off to sleep.

Rain upon the roof...the sound of nature's tears.

This sleep inducement thing does not work for me however.


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It is the exact opposite for I need silence, and that means if the rain becomes moderate to heavy the little foamy earplugs go in.

Even the sound of crickets calling each other for no apparent reason keeps me awake, which is why I feel no remorse when I shift a clump of grass during the day and accordingly wake and startle a couple of them dozing.

But what I do enjoy about the sound of crickets is that it represents the sounds of late summer and very early autumn.

A fine time of the year when the heat begins to dissolve a little and the days and nights become most comfortable and clement.

That alone makes it easier to sleep at night...although the more comforting temperature is ironically countered by the sounds of crickets which emerge at this time.

Summer is on the wane. Autumn is on the rise because the trees are beginning to tell us that.

The lawns, once as spotlessly green as a billiard table (a slightly worn billiard table mind you) are now speckled with small patches of crinkled brown. Leaves which once flourished during the bright and sunny days of January and February are now beginning to call it quits and leave home for good.

In two or three months their homes will be barren.

But of course their places will be taken by new tenants come October as the spring returns, and given the pace at which this year has slid by thus far that will be upon us before we can say "I think I just heard a cicada".

You sort of get the weather wake-up call, in terms of seasons coming and going, when things called southerlies book a passage to these parts...and they bring their damp contents with them.

I was looking out the window last Thursday and it was as grey as my shirt - and my shirt is a very dark shade of grey.

And there was much moisture about, as I spilled half a glass of water down the front of my shirt while attempting to have a drink whilst talking on the phone.

Oh, and it was wet outside as well as that dark grey landscape.

Only a week earlier it was steamy and bright out there.

It was like summer.

This was like a very mild winter's afternoon.

However, as well as being adept at spilling drinks and being able to suppress the sounds of crickets, I am also up to the play with keeping a close eye on the weather's future plans.

While not exactly addicted to sourcing long-range "10 day" forecasts I am very familiar with the manner in which this can be carried out...because I pursue it all the time.

I was pursuing it at the weekend when news started emerging (along with growing clouds) of a thing called Cyclone Hola leaving the waters of Vanuatu for a voyage south.

Like other cyclones which had spent time up that way, it too had decided that it was time to check out the more autumnal southern climes, as (accordingly the weather boffins) that is what they do during what has come to be tagged "the cyclone season".

Apart from the prospect of some relatively fast-moving belts of rain and harsh winds the thing that really rattled me was the name of this tropical visitor.


That is eerily similar to a thing called Bola which called by exactly 30 years ago.

I accept that on the whole weather moves in cycles...patterns.

But Hola...Bola...exactly 30 years apart?

Did someone plan that?

Mind you, if they'd called in Cola there'd likely be copyright issues.

And so, on the eve of the brush with holas bolas I was in town and walking through a great open parking area and there were seagulls circling and calling loudly overhead.

I'd heard about this, about how the seabirds know there is a tempest looming and how they call to each other and circle in preparation for a shift inland away from the sharp edge of a storm.

Then I spotted the scattered remnants of a discarded hamburger beneath their gradual descent.

Ahh what do they know anyway.