When I was a child Labour Weekend was usually the time for the first swim of the season.
My family would pack a picnic, go to Gemmells* (or Gemmell’s at some sources) Crossing and my brothers and I would swim in the river.
More recently Labour Weekend hasn’t alway given us the weather for swimming – sometimes it’s given us a continuation of winter or only the promise of summer.
This year we’ve had more than a promise with temperatures in the early to mid 20s.
I didn’t have a swim but it’s been perfect weather for walking and relaxing and I’m grateful for it.
Were summers really hotter in the 1960s and 70s?
Memory isn’t always reliable but when I look back I recall day after day of sunny weather.
Almost every weekend from Labour weekend to Easter my family would pack a picnic and head to water. Sometimes it was All Day Bay, but more often we went to the river – Gemmell’s Crossing or Clifton Falls.
Sometimes we’d have a mid-week bonus trip too, taking a picnic dinner to the river when Dad got home from work.
The last couple of weeks have been just like that.
It’s great harvest weather but, as always one farmer’s dream is another’s nightmare, and many are facing drought.
while nothing beats water from the sky, irrigation ensures the grass grows when the weather doesn’t co-operate.
That is a major change from when I was growing up.
Then dry weather left the countryside parched and farmers with few options but to de-stock.
Now, thanks to extensive irrigation a good deal of North Otago is still green and growing.