Saturday, 17 June 2006

The "bug" that kept us awake!

For the past week we were kept awake at night wondering what that chirping noise was. It was not the typical continuous chirp but one that was like a second or two apart. It was also something that sounded like a bird trapped somewhere in the house, or was it an insect or a bug?

We had no idea what it was but the fact that it only sounded at night when there are no movements around the house got us suspecting it was an insect of some sort. But it sounded like a bird and was way too loud to be an insect.

This mysterious sound went on for over a week and we were quite curious to find out what exactly it was. Everything and anything came to mind.

This morning when we woke up, it sounded again! I said to Vera, whatever it was, it is begining to get hungry and is now making its presence known during the day. So, off we went on our search for the elusive creature, equipped with a broom stick, bug spray, gum boots and a torch light. We went under the house, then in the garage and tried to follow the sound.

As I was following the sound it sounded like now coming from the hallway upstairs. That got us worried. I stood at the hallway, right at the stairs and there it went again! It came from above my head. The second chirp, that gave itself away.

It was our smoke detector that needed a battery change!

Coming from a place where smoke detectors were not common, we had no idea what it was and how we would know when it was time to change batteries. And all this while, we had sleepless nights thinking a giant weta or some dark creature crept into the house at night waiting to pounce on us!

Tuesday, 13 June 2006

The wicked weather

The north had a blackout, the south had a whiteout and we in the centre of the country had a blowout!

Literally, that's what happened. On the same day, the weather played havoc. We had lots of cold Antartic wind blowing from the south and that caused much of the South Island covered in blanket of snow. Some up to 60cm thick even on the beach! That resulted in roofs giving way due to the weight of the snow and power lines being cut off. As I write this some, 2 days after the storm, some folks in the South Island still have no power.

In Auckland, it was not the snow but the wind that brought down some lines in the main backbone of the country's power grid. That caused shops, business and homes in central Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city to come to a stand still.

In Wellington, being prone to strong winds, we experienced even stronger winds. Winds of up to 140 kmph in some exposed places. It blew off roofs and caused damage to homes.

The weather is getting colder by the day. We have so far recorded the lowest temperature in Wellington since we arrived! 0 degrees Celsius. Although we did not get the snow, I did see ice on the steps and even on the car windscreen this morning. The wiper had to scrap through the ice. The end result was something like shaven ice used for "ice kacang"!