Friday, 6 April 2007

Of Weather and boredom

I have a friend who is returning to New Zealand after living here for a mere thirteen months. Aside from her personal reasons for moving, she included a complaint to me that she finds the weather here “boring.” Every day she gets up and thinks “oh, another bright, sunny day.” She would prefer a little variation and a lot more rain. Obviously when moving here, she paid no attention to the state advertising jingle “Queensland – beautiful one day, perfect the next.”

Aside from the lack of rain, I have no complaints about the weather. After seven years in Minnesota, I am quite happy to be bored by glorious sunshine and warm extremities.

However, my friend’s complaints made me think about weather and how it would have been for what I am going to call “my family” moving here from Germany. I am going to be arbitrary (one of the perks of writing fiction) and make them come from Marburg, Germany. Most of the settlers in my Marburg came from Prussia and since Prussia annexed Hessen-Kessel (of which Marburg was the regional seat) in 1866, that would just fit within my timeframe.

Early formal photos of senior Marburg residents show them wearing medals which are believed to be from the Austrian-Prussian war. Being on the losing side, in a town claimed by the victors as their new administrative centre might give one a very good reason to leave town. Besides, I have been to the original Marburg and walked beside the Lahn.

Briefly, back to the weather. According to my preliminary research, temperatures in that area of Germany (based on information from Frankfurt am Main) range from an average low of -2C to a high of 25C with 12 to 17 rain days on average a month. Compare that with our range (based on Amberley data) from 5.5C to 31C with five months having an average temperature above 29C. While we receive an average 863.6mm of rain, Frankfurt receives 640mm (less rain but more frequently.) On the other hand, over the last few years, we have received considerably less than the average (getting almost exactly the same average as Frankfurt last year but with several consecutive months of insignificant rainfall and high temperatures).

I don’t think my family would have been bored by the weather but I suspect that boredom wasn’t really an issue for them. Boredom tends to be a luxury of the comfortable.

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