Almost all the way back to the bleak midwinter today. I wasn’t going to write today, but we’ve had the most fabulously scary wind and I had to say somethingabout it.

The day started out a little cloudy but mostly bright. However, I have five little furry barometers who flatly refused to go outside as they usually do in the morning and instead curled up under quilts, in front of the fire, on my chair. Despite the promising start to the day, something bad was on its way.

About 8 am it arrived. A great darkness suddenly descending from the mountain, rattling windows and doors, and a flurry of urgent weather warnings from the weather bureau (they were 2 hours behind my five in predicting this onslaught) amid sleeting rain – but it has been the wind today that has really been scary. It has been gale force at times, but that isn’t so unusual here. It is just that today it gave tongue – a constant low moaning that raised the hairs on the back of my neck. It sounds like a maddened dog in deep distress – about lunch time I went out for a walk, and along with the effort to keep upright, occasionally the moaning became so loud I looked around me to see what was lurking in the driveways of the gardens I passed.

I have never heard wind moan like I have down here in Tasmania. Someone said to me the other day that Tasmania is the land of rainbows (and indeed it is, yesterday I counted five on my morning walk), but it is also the land of the low, moaning wind.

Regarding the weather bureau’s warnings. We have a very poor weather radar here in Hobart. It lives out by the airport, and in fact it is mostly a wind radar, and every morning it becomes entirely a wind radar for the airport and not an all purpose weather radar, so for about 4 hours all it sees is wind, not rolling stormy clouds and rain etc. So I guess the weathermen and women had just turned the weather radar back on again after a few hours of it just serving the airport downdraft situation, suddenly saw what was coming, said a few choice words, and reached for the phones. They should have just looked out the window. ;) We are supposed to be getting a new and fabulous weather radar, but I am guessing it is some years away. The great big mountain stuck just behind the city is also a problem – it hides everything coming up behind it.

But onwards. I think I have two copper preserving pans arranged. One is here in Australia, but its owner is in Dubai, and she doesn’t trust her daughter to pack it properly, so will send it when she flies back in late October. The other I have bought in England and it will need to wend its way out here. Both are antiques – late Georgian/early Victorian (so early to mid-1800s). There are modern varieties of copper preserving pans, but I don’t like them so much as the big old ones, and they are very expensive – even with shipping from England the antique one is half the price of a modern copper pan. The one here in Australia is tinned (although it will need to be re-tinned), so I can make my pickles and chutneys in that, while the English pan is un-tinned, so that will be the jam pan.

Amid all the terrible weather today, the lemon cucumbers have decided to peek their little green faces above the soil! Baaaaaaad timing!