Fair weather friend

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I am being somewhat self indulgent by writing an extra email this week, but I am sitting here waiting for my ride to Kentucky for my Sweet Adelines contest (which you will hear all about in my next missive) and I am far too excited to analyse data (which is what I should be doing).

I want to take the opportunity to describe spring, which has finally started to burst here in West Lafayette, and my encounter with the local TV weather man.

I have been looking forward to spring. I imagined that it would be even more spectacular than at home, because the winters here are so bleak, with the forests totally denuded of foliage, and gardens bare except for a few cheerful evergreens. The reality has been different from what I had expected.

In Toowoomba, spring explodes in early September in a blaze of colour which I think would be hard to match anywhere in the world, but here the plants are a little more leery and although the calendar has read spring for some weeks, very little action had happened at all. Of course you can understand nature’s reticence to waste her energy too early, as you might recall from a recent email that we actually had more snow in early spring than we did all winter. Any plant foolish enough to come out in the first days or weeks of spring is likely to be dumped on by a foot of snow. That would dampen anyone’s enthusiasm for early rising!

At last however, it seems the hard freezes of winter have passed and buds and leaves have started to appear. First it was the daffodils – hundreds of them in garden beds all around town. Their contribution was supplemented by flowering yellow broom. This cheerful and gaudy yellow display was obviously the signal for other blooms to make an appearance. The next to emerge were white blossoms, Bradford pears and other soft, fluffy blooms which I didn’t recognise. Next came the pinks – magnolias and crabapples and the darker hues of the Redbud. Even the plants with a more modest display of green foliage are now starting to stir into life.

It has been a joy over the past two weeks watching this wonderful transformation – again different in so many ways from what I know as spring, but beautiful and magical in its own way. Most of the colour is in flowering trees and shrubs, with very few gardens of bright annuals as we have. Peter and I are planning to do a bit of a drive around after the weekend to see if there are more spectacular displays in some of the suburban gardens.

Continuing on the weather theme, I must tell you about my meeting with Mike Prangley, the local TV channel’s meteorologist. I was taken with him the first time I saw him giving his enthusiastic nightly report and forecast. There is always plenty of weather to report here in Indiana and Mike so obviously loves weather and talking about it that watching him has been one of the highlights of my day. Oh, and did I mention he is very cute looking too!

You can imagine my delight then, when I learned that Mike was to be the guest speaker at our church’s Young at Heart luncheon for April. I have been helping out as cook and bottlewash at these functions and readily volunteered to make sure I was on the list to help again this time.

I was not disappointed. He is even cuter in real life than on TV, and his talk was entertaining and informative. He told us about some of his more exciting weather experiences, and the terror of his first live TV weather report. He spoke for a while about tornadoes which are most likely to occur in this otherwise cheerful spring season, but he spoke at even more length about the dangers and prevalence of lightning strikes. He warned about being outdoors, near trees, in cars, near windows, or touching any plumbing, electrical or telephone equipment during a thunderstorm. There aren’t too many other places left to hide! Nevertheless I still have a greater fear of tornadoes than thunderstorms, and if I don’t get to see a twister while I’m here, I won’t be the slightest bit disappointed!

I managed to have a brief chat with Mike and he kindly agreed to have his photo taken with me to add to my collection of famous people I’ve met in America. He has asked me to email him from Australia to tell him what the weather is like there, so I certainly will do that sometime.

That’s all for now. I have my sequins and false eyelashes packed and ready for my next adventure. Wish us well!

Nobody was able to locate their philtrum in response to my past week’s question. It is that little dipped out bit in the middle of your upper lip.

This week’s question is: How the heck DO you put on false eyelashes? After my disastrous efforts at the dress rehearsal last Monday, I hope I find out before tomorrow!

Congratulations Bassy, on getting into the 1st XV. That’s great news!