Saturday, July 31, 2010

When it rains...

If you live on the east coast of Australia (or in the tropics, or in fact any place where rain is commonplace) this means bugger all. Firstly, you probably don't even know what an inch is (especially if you are under 50 years of age), or you don't care what an inch is. But essentially, an inch means you hear the gentle pitter patter of rain on your roof for a period of minutes. 

If you live where I live, an inch means something else entirely. An inch (or 100 points, or 25 ml) means our tanks and dams get a little fuller, our stock get a little more feed, and our crops get a little much needed watering. An inch also means that if the dirt road into town (all 20km of it to the bitumen) has been recently graded, there is every chance I will need to put the car into 4WD. And compacting this, is the unwritten rule of the bush that you can't complain about rain under any circumstances. Rain is good. Even when it's flooding. And an inch is perfect. Despite any inconvenience that it has caused me personally.

I'm not really complaining. (Oh, who am I kidding? Yes I am.) Friends of mine can't even leave their property with an inch of rain. So I consider myself lucky. But I am a city girl at heart, and the mere thought of engaging in any 4WD activity is enough to put a thin layer of sweat on my brow. 

When I was a kid, my Dad was a member of a 4WD club. This seems to give my husband endless hours of pleasure, imagining me and my siblings strapped into the back of a 4WD, high tailing it to some private property; unwilling recipients in my father's quest for excitement. It was actually fun, I think. But now that I am all grown up, it's very different.

When hubby and I first purchased our first 4WD (a Nissan Patrol wagon- or a big white car for the uninitiated) I've got to admit, I was kind of pumped. I thought it was a bit like a status symbol. Silly me. What I quickly realised is that if you live out in the sticks and you don't own a ridiculously over-sized vehicle (which is inconvenient in the city to say the least), you will spend a fortune on tyres, and never be able to leave your property with even a whiff of rain. So really, to live out here, you need a big car. And that's all well and good until you need the big car. Like today.

Hubby would be rolling his eyes and snickering at my apparent ineptness in the world of driving in the wet. And I consider myself a good driver too. (I should be, my father is a driving instructor. But as it has been pointed out to me before, if my father is a doctor, it doesn't automatically make me a good doctor too.) In fact, hubby probably could have handled the road today without the use of 4WD. But not me. My legs start that uncontrollable "knock knocking", my knuckles turn white,and my brow creases for the duration of the trip. I don't breath properly, and the mere whisper from a passenger is enough to send me off the deep end. 

But we made it. Easily. I know some of you reading this actually might even get off on 4WD-ing, but it's not my thing. Not with 3 children in the back. And not even on my own. And even though I am very grateful for the rain, I prefer it on days when I am staying home.

Last night we had just under an inch and a half of rain. But what does that mean?

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