The timing for one of the most spectacular, yet brief, weather performances of the year thus far could not have been better.

For it underlined that wonderful and unpredictable thing we call "the changing of the seasons".

Thunder, lightning, a belt of rain so heavy I saw cars pulling over as their wipers ceased to cope, and a hammering of hail.

It was Friday ... the last day of winter and the eve of spring.


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Although, as evidenced by the current damp act in this drawn-out play called winter, the seasons have not yet made the decision to change.

But you always get this, and that's one thing I like about the weather ... it is (sort of) predictable.

You always get that early spring flourish of foul weather.

One can however take solace in the fact that there are several schools of thought as to when the season of spring begins, and to compensate for the foul few days we are going to be on the receiving end of I'll go with the "astronomical" one.

That's September 23 which is the spring equinox and the moment when daytime hours begin to last longer than night-time hours.

Which means there are about another three weeks of winter to roll yet, so that's fine and dandy.

Well, not so fine maybe.


The other option is what's called the "solar spring" and that effectively marks the start of spring as about the second week of August.

Not sure about that.

And of course there's the common and easy to remember one ... the "meteorological" start of spring" and that was last Saturday, September 1.

Which meant August 31 was the last day of winter, and how fitting.

For the great dark clouds rolled across from the west and they brought with them much lightning and thunder ... crikey, it's starting to sound almost Biblical now.

There were a couple of small spots of rain as the thunder grew closer.

Ahh, timing, I mused.

For within the next half hour I would be setting off to pick up the grandkids from school ... and having dropped them there during the blue sky and clement morning realised they didn't appear to be packing a lot in the way of rain wear.

I did discover later however that they were packing a brollie, but to be on the safe side decided to take ours.

I made this decision about three minutes before setting out and that was when along with a series of cat-frightening barrages of thunder the hail fell.

Across our part of town it was the heaviest drop of the icy stuff I had seen for a couple of years, and could feel it biting as I dashed to get the brollie from the other car.

The irony was that in pursuit of the perfect item to repel rain and hail I had been saturated by the stuff.

So, quick change of shirt as the minutes ticked away toward the ringing of the school bell.

Then grab the raincoat ... which I remembered I'd earlier put in the car "just in case" after hearing slightly grim weather reports.

More irony ... I took another fine dousing of now torrential rain to get to the car ... where my raincoat lay on the passenger's seat.

It was wet.

I'd left that side's window partially open as it had been so warm earlier.

Indeed, the day had begun like the first day of spring except it was the last day of winter.

And Mother Nature (with a grin I daresay) reminded me of that as I ploughed through rain so heavy and hammering the wipers struggled even on their fastest setting.

Some cars indicated and pulled off the road to wait for the violent deluge to cease.

I ploughed on, and took another few sheets of rain when I quickly stopped to pick up some buns for the kids.

Dashing back to the car I dropped the keys in a nice big puddle.

There's an old saying along the lines of "one must be prepared" but when nature rolls out the unexpected it's hard to subscribe to that.

So I continued on, at about 30km/h and then, as I neared a roundabout near Greenmeadows, it just stopped.

So suddenly.

One minute the wipers were on full bore and the next minute they were redundant.

So I got to the school and hardly a spot of rain was falling, although the landscape was awash.

So the umbrella could stay in the car.

And all the kids, as they emerged, excitedly talked about the "awesome" thunder and some even had little cups of slowly melting hail they'd collected.

Straight for the freezer.

A lasting reminder that yep, maybe September 23 is THE first day of spring.