Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Winter approaching at a quick clip

Getting a clear feel for the change of seasons hasn’t taken very long at all.

Daylight saving has been in place for only a couple of weeks, but the difference has been almost immediate. While it still seems bright enough in the morning to encourage oneself out of bed, and maybe even the younger ones on school holiday to rise for breakfast, at the other end of the day, the dark sky is now upon us much earlier. There’s no more driving home from the office in nature’s available light, particularly if you are travelling along the under-upgrade SH2  from Masterton to South Wairarapa.

Some of my more boisterous neighbours took the opportunity of darker overhead conditions to set off a few fireworks at the weekend, presumably to mark a little-known Easter tradition. Or, more likely, just for the hell of it. It sure sounded like a few laughs.

And while the oohs and ahhs that accompanied the Wairarapa Balloon Festival and the gleeful chortles heard from a distance at the Greytown Tweed Ride provided a pleasant distraction, the fact is that winter is knocking at the door.

The handful of heavy downpours in the wee hours during April thus far have given us a big-enough hint. Some folks who have been around much longer than most of us are struggling to remember the last time there was no official drought during summer or when the only water restriction in place during the allegedly drier months lasted less than two days – bought to a quick end by … a day of rain. I’m sure that particular water restriction was sent out in error, or perhaps sent accidentally on purpose, just to see if it got to the designated audience it was supposed to. I doubt if anyone paid it any mind anyway.

So, what to do about the looming darker, colder days and nights? Perhaps we should not do anything in particular, or at least anything different than we have done in previous winters.

Another sign that winter is near is the change in our social activities.  And for many people in Wairarapa, that means wrapping up and taking on the elements to support their local sports team.

Senior club rugby kicks off another season today and, while autumn is still clinging to the calendar, an afternoon at the park can be a lot of fun. It’s also a chance to catch up with old friends who make the trek into town from the country. The sports club can be a social anchor offering plenty of good-natured banter when the conditions outside are not so welcoming.

The region’s footballers and hockey players will also put their pre-season work on the line today. These two sports have been more proactive than rugby in using artificial surfaces to negate the damage that winter can do to grass, which soon becomes mud.

Spare a thought for all the juniors who will take to the fields soon. Better still, take off your woolly hat, padded jacket, scarf, jumper, gumboots, and gloves and put on some shorts. And don’t yell at the ref, unless you’re willing to take the whistle yourself.

Roger Parker
Roger Parker
Roger Parker is the Times-Age news director. In the Venn-diagram of his two great loves, news and sport, sports news is the sweet spot.

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