When the weather is inclement, the only sound that can be heard is the thud from rain meeting the roof, the slush from wheels carving through puddles or the dull echo of mumbled voices from dampened canvas abodes. The persistent down pours frustrated both old and young – it’s supposed to be the time of year where adults worship the sun whilst kids vanish to play amongst the abyss of tentage.
We watched from the comforts of our caravan some who gave into mother nature and packed up their belongings and drove away. Will it be a Christmas Holiday they will remember or one they would like to forget? We watched others tough it out showing glimpses of life to venture across to the toilets, showers or kitchen wondering if they have a system as to who does what or whether the weather had them draw straws to be the one to fight the deluges.
Then there were the hardened determined arrivals who weren’t going to let moisture deter them from their god given moment to make the most of the holidays and arrive to set up camp under the awful conditions. It’s not easy to duck down in the caravan so as not to make eye contact and hide either as they soldiered on to set up camp. Guilt got the better of me and before long, the jacket was donned on and out into the elements one went to offer a hand to speed up their discomfort quicker!
Some construction needed engineering backgrounds just to erect the poles whilst some were the traditional three roomed green canvassed ones with colour coded poles we grew up only needing ‘poles two, three, six and seven’ pushed together. Either types didn’t require a hammer to bang in the pegs, they were easily pushed in by foot because the ground underneath was so saturated.
The ground since the quakes has slightly rippled the land meaning undulation on some sites causing water to pool at the lowest elevation. Unfortunately, our next door neighbour was one such site and it was hard to distinguish what was rain splattered cheeks or tears of disbelief as the water levels rose to start her home to float … inside the tent.
Out came the spades from around the gated community and soon a trench was dug to channel the water, it’s flow draining the site leaving a moat to do more protecting from further carnage. The camp tractor arrived with a couple of scoops of bark. This was dumped where once the lake had ponded, rakes levelling the mounds to curve with the landscape.
We sheltered under the gazebo to intermittently dash out and re-groove or slice the earth to navigate more liquid to dissipate. It allowed for conversations to be had as if we had been neighbours way longer than the introduction salutations just a couple of days before.
How cool it was that the weather isobars overhead presented opportunities for new friendships to be struck up like they were. This became the habit for the next day, and the next across the camp ground.
There was no ducking down or hiding anymore. Even if it was weather for the ducks.