While everyone in the Northern Hemisphere is busy building snowmen, snuggling up with layers of blankets or jumpers and generally doing their best to keep warm during the next few months, we here in Darwin are as usual sweltering under a hot and sticky sun. At least we can celebrate the season on the beach with a sandman instead. :) The humidity this time of year is at its worst as the wet season is just beginning. I sit here and watch the storms roll in over the bay, thunder rumbles all around while sheets of lightning flash across the horizon. As the storm approaches the sky darkens and the monsoonal rain begins to pelt down. I find myself wanting to hide under the table or better yet under the covers of the safety of my bed. I am home alone and feel somewhat vulnerable. Memories of our years in Thailand during monsoons come flooding back.
My babies were only one, four and seven years old when we first experienced the frightening effects of a tropical storm. The electricity in the house we lived in was not grounded and every time a storm came through not only did the power go out, we had a build up of water pool in the light shade over the dining room table.Doesn't sound so bad? But the table was on the bottom floor of a two storey house, I could never figure out where all the water was coming from? I asked the resident Thai maintenance man if he could please fix the problem. His solution....."Mai pen lai madame" (not a problem madame) and he promptly deposited a bucket onto the middle of my dining room table, problem solved! He smiled and left.
My dear husband resolved to fix the problem and had a fellow from work arrive to install a circuit breaker on our wall just inside our front door. Problem solved? Ah no! The next storm that came through the circuit breaker blew up and flames flew up my wall. Hubby arrived home late from work to find the house pitch black, a burnt smell as he entered and myself and three little boys sitting upstairs in the middle of our bed reading by torchlight.
So now when I experience the storms here in Darwin some twenty years later, all alone while hubby is at work, the boys all grown up and no longer at home with me to give mum support, I can't help but wonder what will go wrong here?
So far so good. But I have heard some people say we are due for another big wet season and even another big cyclone. It has been 40 years this Christmas Eve since Santa didn't make it into Darwin when Cyclone Tracey struck and to top it off I believe Tracey crossed the coast right here at Cullen Bay where I am living! Fills one with a lot of confidence!
So I'll trim the tree and cook the traditional roast. I'll wrap all the presents and send out all my Christmas cards and I'll look forward to spending Christmas with all my wonderful family and friends down south and say a silent prayer for everyone here in Darwin that they stay safe while I am away. Last but not least I'll pray that a cyclone doesn't hit and devastate families anywhere in Australia this season, Queensland, Western Australia or the Northern Territory. Then I'll return early in the New Year to watch the storms build up across the bay once more.
As a Christmas special i am offering a two for one deal on Gingerbread Aliens. So while you cook gingerbread this festive season you can read with the family a different kind of gingerbread story. What better gift at Christmas than sharing the gift of time, laughter and imagination with your kids and being able to give that gift to another family as well.