Remembering Rain

Friday (yesterday) started windy and got windier. And it was warm again as well, getting warmer. I’d booked in for Suzi’s Certificate of Fitness – the warrant thing for trucks. The nearest testing station is in Alexandra, so we drove down there. This time we didn’t lose the wind in the gorge. Wyn headed off to check out the Op shops in Alex, looking for something to wear to the races on Sunday. I found the testing station and found that the entrance for vehicles was actually in another street after turning into the wrong one. The testing guys set to on Suzi – it’s the first time I’ve seen two do the process together. Previously (elsewhere) it’s been one person giving me instructions in the cab. Suzi was fine – heck she’s only done 11,000 kms and should be fine. But she has wheel trims on and they insisted that these had to come off so they could look at the wheels and wheel nuts.

So I got sent round to the nearest tyre place to get the trims removed. Except the guy in the tyre place couldn’t figure out how to get the trim off the wheel with the hubodometer. So, back I went to the testing station with only three wheel trims removed. It was lunchtime there, and there was a queue. But the guy was helpful. He tried explaining to me how the guy in the tyre place should take the hubodometer off. I tried nodding my head but really he might as well have been talking Swahili. I think he figured that so he examined the three wheels and saw that they were in fairly outstanding condition so agreed Suzi should be certified.

Because the office person was away to lunch he had to do the paperwork and by this time a queue had built up in the lane leading into the testing bay. And there was a car ahead of Suzi – some lads after a warrant which seemed a bit optimistic given their difficulty getting the drivers door to close. So Suzi was all ready to roll but with nowhere to go. The only way out was through the testing bay so the nice chap had to move the lads’ car out of the queue. Then I was free to leave, via the testing bay. I was careful not to drive into the pit or hit the brake testing readout screen thing that stuck out into the lane. Out into the sunshine we emerged, ready for the final plunge. For some reason the testing building is at the top of a steep slope, with a steep concrete drive at first convex then concave. Anything with a long wheelbase is at risk of bellying on the first bit, anything with a long rear overhang is at risk of dragging on the last bit. Plus the first bit is scored with the marks of reluctant metal being dragged screeching across it. Suzi took a deep breath and away we launched. It felt like one of those ski runs where the skier starts on a level platform before pushing off over the lip and away down the hill. I took a deep breath as well and we didn’t add to any of the scrape marks. We made it, out of the testing station, with our CoF on the windscreen and a big sigh of relief.

The relief was a bit too soon. I headed back to the tyre place to get the wheel trims restored. Trouble was the guy who knew how to do it had gone to lunch. By the time he’d be back we’d have to be on the road to Cromwell for Wyn’s physio appointment. I refused to weep. I worked out that Suzi could go with her wheels exposed for all to see for a week or so – we’d be back to Alexandra sooner or later. I headed off and contacted Wyn to pick her up after her shopping expedition. No sooner had we arranged that than the tyre place rang up to say that the guy had come back from lunch. He’d remembered that the wheel nuts hadn’t been torqued up so I probably shouldn’t be driving far on them to be sure of the wheels staying on. I could see the sense in that so headed back and got the trims back on and the nuts tightened properly.

As luck would have it – and there was some good luck on this unfortunate outing – next door to the tyre place was the Op shop where Wyn had found an outfit for wearing to the races on Sunday. So Wyn had her dress and top and hat, and Suzi had her CoF and finally we were off. The wind had picked up a bit so the drive back to Cromwell was a bit of a battle mostly into the wind – with occasional cross-winds to keep me concentrating. Wyn was only slightly late for her physio appointment and I went off to dump Suzi’s waste and borrow some more water from the service station and get a gas bottle refilled. By which time Wyn was ready to go and so were we.

By the time we got back to Lowburn at 3pm the wind was really starting to blow. We parked up and hunkered down. For the next hour the wind didn’t so much gust as just continuously roar. The wind whipped up the lake, first with white caps, then with trails of spray off the white caps, and finally with breaking waves. Alaine over in Pisa Moorings saw a peak of about 75kmph on their wind meter. Soon enough it started to abate – a bit. Finally it started to rain and the wind dropped.

We hadn’t seen any proper rain since we’ve been in Central Otago. It’s fair to say the place could do with some dampening down of the dust. It was nice to hear it on the roof, and to see it coming straight down – the wind was over, for now. By evening the rain had stopped and the clouds were lifting. It was cooler – there was change in the air. The clouds were different and the sunset spectacular in a different way. It was the end of another interesting day.

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