The long, hot Kiwi summer has given way to the abrupt Kiwi autumn. It's a wonderful thing how nature sees this coming and sends precursors - leaves start to drop, and cicadas go into hibernation, long before daytime temperatures have dropped below shirt-sleeve weather. But now the wisdom of those precautions is evident. It's positively nippy outdoors - rain, wind, daytime temperatures in the mid-to-low teens. Yesterday evening, I put on a jumper for the first time in six months.
Any week now, we're going to have to break out the winter duvet.
Murphy's Law dictates that this change should coincide with the arrival, in our office complex, of some bastard who gets in before I do and parks in the unmarked space that I've been using for months. Which means I now have to drive on and park on the street, a couple of hundred metres away. Not far, but quite far enough to get pretty damp if the weather wants to make it so.
And then there's the ritual walk back ten minutes later, to make sure I switched the lights off.
I could, of course, try getting up and coming in earlier. Yeah, right. I'm still enjoying the whole experience of the sun rising before I do, I don't want to throw that away.
Or I could try to pay for my own marked parking space in the complex. I don't actually know if that's allowed, for individuals, but I could ask. But that would make me sound and feel like a pampered wuss, like management.
Or I could start taking the bus to work - my walk would be about the same length that way, but at least I wouldn't have to worry about leaving the headlights on. That's quite an appealing option in some ways. Buses are a great boon to writers - they provide not only material, but also time to think. Mostly, of course, it's time spent thinking about how long the damn' journey is taking you; but in truth, it's not much longer than by car.
No, it's the waiting at the cold bus stop that puts me off. And Auckland city authorities are talking about improving its bus service by getting bigger buses. That, of course, means fewer buses, which means longer waits. Talk about missing the point.
Also in the changes - the quality of houses for sale has dropped abruptly. We saw only one place last weekend, which we dismissed laughingly; others we drove by and decided without hesitation that we didn't really want to get out of the car in those neighbourhoods, let alone live there.
We do have one place on our shortlist now. It's for auction next Wednesday. Our experience of auctions thus far has not been happy; if this one goes as badly as the first, I shall be really quite upset...
So please wish us luck. We could use it.