It’s a new year…


It’s happened. 2010 is upon us. Last year was so full of strange global and local events that it is hard to believe it is all now in the past. What will come next?

We celebrated our NYE in Williamstown, Victoria in the upstairs room of a waterfront restaurant The Nelson Restaurant that we booked into at the last, fortuitous minute. It turned out to be a great spot with a fantastic view of the Melbourne city skyline and as it turned out, the best thunderstorm we’ve had in a long time.

My family were on the other side of the city and so it was a little bit sad that we couldn’t all be together. We’d had Christmas Day together so that made up for it.

Dinner was slow but not painfully so and we weren’t in any hurry as we were all there til at least midnight. The food was excellent and wine flowed.

As we settled into our entree of oysters and bruschetta we saw a lovely sight… the full moon rising over the city buildings… glowing amber and gold as it peaked through the pale clouds.  A full moon (and a lunar eclipse due as well) on New Years eve… it augured well as a strong start to the new year.

Rising storm

Rising Storm

The building housing the restaurant had a balcony overlooking the street and the city and a few of us went out side to see the moon rise. As we did we looked up to see an enormous black cloud bearing down on the city and we watched as it engulfed the slowly rising moon.  As it settled over the city, the rain and lightening started…it was better than the forthcoming fireworks! We watched, glad we were inside! – as people scurried out of the rain and the traffic started to snarl up in front of the restaurant. No accidents thankfully but rain always somehow causes a lot of chaos. Perhaps because it literally seemed to be arrive out of a clear blue sky with the temperature over 36 degrees until 30 minutes before!

The night was engulfed in rain, thunder, lightening and the noise of people enjoying the spectacle while trying to get out of the way of the storm as it circled and rumbled around us.

Inside the restaurant, everyone was getting to know each other as we crowded on to the balcony and ‘ooh’ed’ and ‘ahh’ed’ at the weather and questioned whether the fireworks would be washed out. We all felt sorry for the kids who were staked out on the grass to watch the 9.15 fireworks show until the weather had turned foul.  But just after 9.15 in what was almost the height of the storm, the fireworks started in the city, amongst the lightening, driving rain, raging wind and thunder! What a NYE!

The storm continued throughout the night, with each of us spending time out on the balcony watching the changing weather. The horizontal forked lightening was the biggest attraction. And the wonderful, fabulous rain that we all enjoyed so much because it had been missing for so long.  After 2 days of blistering heat of over 30 degrees and a hot northerly wind, we were all so glad to stand in the cooler air – as much as 10 degrees cooler – and feel the rain on our faces while the thunder crashed around us!

Coming from England where many summers were completly washed out by nothing but rain, it is hard to believe I could ever miss it but i really, really do.  In Melbourne these downpours are happening less and less it seems. No-one ever complains about the rain in Melbourne any more!(I’ve heard through the grapevine that there is a prophecy that 2010 will be Melbourne’s wettest year!)

As it came closer to midnight, the rain continued outside. Again we wondered if the 12 o clock fireworks would go ahead but bang on 12, the city erupted in an explosion of coloured stars even as the rain continued to pour.  We all shouted and screamed in good NYE style and kissed the nearest man (happily, my husband was beside me!) We hugged and wished each other HAPPY NEW YEAR! I dont remember anyone singing Auld Lang sine.  As we watched the fireworks the storm seemed to increase in intensity and as the rain was starting to sting a bit harder on our faces, the wind changed direction and everyone on the balcony was now getting a bit too wet, just then, a bolt of lightening shot down between the Melbourne office towers and cracked to earth just as the fireworks came near to their close.  Sydney might have better fireworks (some say!) but nothing could have matched the fabulous display put on by nature over Melbourne this 31st December 2009.

Happy New Year to you wherever you are.

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