Hard News by Russell Brown


That Summer!

I noticed last week that people were venturing sorrowfully about the end of summer. And yes, although we've got another six or eight weeks of pretty decent weather, the autumnal chill at the margins of the day seems to have arrived on schedule. But there's a particular tone to the lament, in Auckland anyway. Because it really has been quite a summer in the Queen City.

I gather Wellington and much of the South Island were unseasonably chilly through the holidays, and I know Northland is struggling with drought. In and about Auckland, once the El Nino southerlies dropped away in January, we've enjoyed day after day of comfortable 25 to 26-degree temperatures and sunshine. Yes, we had a few 20 degree nights as well, but that always happens.

On a personal level, our summer has been blighted by Fiona's Achilles tendon rupture (snapped playing tennis on December 28, out of plaster last week, still on crutches, recovery nowhere near over), and that's been hard, but I've still had a brilliant time nipping away to ride the roads and parks of our part of Auckland, sometimes stopping at Pt Chevalier beach to cool off. I'm in better health than I was in December, even though I have barbecued much meat (and a little fish) and toasted with some good summer wines (take a bow, La Strada Rose and Artisan Gewurtztraminer).

And then there have been the events,. Sure, it wasn't the greatest Big Day Out either, but we got Laneway, and by all accounts Splore unfolded as if it were some sort of musical paradise. Auckland City's Music in Parks has been revitalised this year, with Movies and Jazz variants, along with a whole other series of concerts at Auckland Zoo. It seems that even a Tory council now acknowledges the City's role in making the place colourful.

There was the biggest Lantern Festival yet and, a week later in the same park, a great 95bFM Summer Series lineup that actually got some sunshine. I even got to the ODI cricket on Saturday, which – despite the presence of a few high-born boofheads in our earshot and a lack of mobile phone coverage (the building at Eden Park has wreaked havoc with the existing cellsites, Mr Brislen tells me) – was a whole bundle o' fun.

This week, it's Pasifika, which will draw a couple of hundred thousand people to our neighbourhood on Saturday (as a local, I'll go early then go home). Sadly, the weather magic seems set to disappear for that – 18 degrees does not make me think of the Islands. Perhaps Summer 2010 will grant us one more dispensation.

All of which is a roundabout way of saying: how was it for you?

Do tell.

(Plus a chocolate fish to whoever gets the musical reference in the title ...)

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