Monday, 20 August 2007

Becoming my father

This morning the top of Two Tree Hill was swathed in mist. Rain alternately fell in soft waves and intense bursts. Bare paddocks turned into mudbaths. I had to work out how to adjust the wiper frequency again and the knack of driving on wet, gravel roads. We got 34mm in the last 24 hours. It was glorious but all of a sudden you had to think about things like getting children into and out of cars without getting soaked, parking in the right spot and how to get laundry dry. Drought does have a few advantages.

Our last significant rain was June 26/27 when we had a combined total of 28mm. The last time we had the 50mm or more which is needed for runoff to start entering dams was June 6. Before that it was February 12 last year.

You become obsessed with rainfall when you are dependent on it, or if you are naturally obsessive. The local newspaper publishes an annual chart on which you can tally your rainfall. Some people prefer to write it on calendars. Others have Excel spreadsheets by which rainfall can be compared to Bureau of Meteorology averages for the areas. Hey, I never said that I wasn’t obsessive. In fact, I found that I have turned into my father, going out in the rain to check the gauge so I can enter the evening figures and even the other day, shifting the thermometer outside to compare internal and external temperatures. Really -- I just wanted to see whether the insulation does make a difference. I have even eyed those fancy weather “stations” at the Australian Geographic Shop. Where does all of this leave me? Well, perhaps more knowledgeable about local weather, but generally still without water.

My other obsession, trying to find out historical population figures for Marburg, Germany, isn’t going very well. I have found many interesting historical facts including some fabulous photographs of Marburg at the Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz. This is the photo agency of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation which claims to have 12 million images on the topics of fine arts, culture and history. For the images of Marburg, simply type "Marburg" into the search box.

I also found an image of the migrant dormitories at the port of Hamburg, but can’t post it here for copyright reasons. Go, browse, enjoy.

And if you know how to obtain historical population information for specific towns in Germany, (well I really just want to know what the population of Marburg was in 1870 so that I have a sense of the size of the town) please feel free to email me.

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