Bushwhacked: Hopes drying up

IN a quote that Mark Twain allegedly pinched from his good friend, newspaper editor Charles Dudley Warner, one, or the other said: “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”

I know what I’d like to do about it. I’d like to find who it is in the Bureau of Meteorology who makes the week’s weather predictions and then passes them on to all the paper, radio and TV stations, weather sites and so forth …. and I’d like to inflict grievous bodily harm on him/her/them.

I like weather forecasts. No, I love weather forecasts. The maps, the graphs, the swirly lines, the green radar blobs, the great foaming sweeps of satellite pictures. I like watching the forecasts of the next seven days creep ever closer, becoming more and more wrong, dry and infuriating.

Let’s face it; I’m addicted to internet weather sites and to the world of meteorology. I like to track the weather and try to understand it, try to predict myself when those huge whirling white masses of what looks like mashed potato off the north-west coast will send off a spinning tail which just might, with luck, slop a little dollop of rain over Bendigo.

Never before have we been able to see and know so much about the weather, but never before have we had such high expectations about it being right (which mostly it is), but that means that never before have its failures been more anger-inducing.

It makes people paranoid. Like me. Someone once said I was paranoid, but then that’s what they all say, isn’t it …. er, sorry.

I reckon someone has it in for Bendigo when it comes to the weather.

On the TV weather reports, Bendigo wanders around lonely as a cloud (stop that) on their maps. Sometimes, Bendigo has shifted to Wodonga or Corryong. Sometimes it pushes Ballarat out of the way. Sometimes it pops over to Stawell for a day or so.

And maybe that’s the cause for our lack of rain.

See, last week the weather sites started saying there was a 90 per cent chance of 10mm to 20mm of rain on Thursday. Halfway through the week, that’d changed to a 90 per cent chance of up to 10mm. Then, the day before, it became 80 per cent of 5mm.

And on the day we got three-fifths of five-eighths of bugger all. Again. So what happened?

Could it be that the rain couldn’t find Bendigo? We were wandering around like Brown’s cows (don’t ask me, I never met the man) and the rain was here but we weren’t.

It’s like Santa popping down your chimney when you were visiting Nana.

It really seems to me that this happens an awful lot to Bendigo.

You can track the great green vastness of rain, sliding down the map from Broome, slipping over Perth, across the Nullarbor and drowning Adelaide, before bounding north over Mildura and being wasted in the great useless nothingness known as New South Wales.

Or flopping south and drenching web-toed Ballarat for the eleventeenth time this month.

Bendigo is a gaping, gasping dryness in the damp doughnut of Victoria, a veritable Bermuda Triangle of Precipitation.

My addiction to weather charts, maps, sites, records, images only makes this worse.

Now I can watch the gods bend it like Beckham around us. I can see and almost hear the gods of thunder gather over the South Australian border to draw up their anti-Bendigonian conspiracies.

My wife has a smartphone, smarter than me. When you turn it on, it not only shows you a picture of what the sky looks outside (who needs windows  in these  marvellous days of technological miracles?) but it also tells you what the weather sounds like.

Really. On a clear starry night it goes tinkle tinkle. On the rare occasion that it rains it makes showering sounds.

Swooosh! What was that, dear? Thirty kilometre an hour wind gusts with a five per cent chance of you getting annoyed again on Tuesday. 

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