Less than perfect weather for the school hols

My geographers roots always have me studying the weather, amongst other things, and with the recent cold snaps hitting the country I thought I’d take a look at some statistics. Just when we were being lulled into a false sense of security that spring was really here, a wintry blast has seen us reach for the thermals. Thank goodness Wellington’s ‘Spring Festival’ and wonderful tulips were celebrated before the recent onslaught of rain and bitter wind.

I was actually beginning to consider the need to turn on the irrigation systems for our garden as everything was getting so dry… and then the deluge of rain came. The timing of this wintry weather has been less than perfect for the fortnight of school holidays. Nevertheless, we’ve managed to keep ourselves entertained – though there have been a few moments of feeling a little crazy! When there has been a break in the weather we’ve made sure to dash out the front door pronto and make the most of it (the girls cycling along Lyall Bay’s wide pavements was a highlight of the week for me). And when the four walls of the house, with all the delights of baking (fairy cakes twice and an apple crumble this week), painting, puzzles and games (including less than quiet ones – surfing down the stairs on a mattress has been popular) have run their course we have escaped to the swimming pool and rec centre to regain our sanity.

So we’ve had a bit of a bad run, but live in hope that it will end soon and the sun will soon bring us cheer. The garden is looking lush and we will, without doubt, really appreciate the sun when it does return. And I’ll be out with the lawn mower as the grass is growing knee high!

In my perusal of various statistics I came across an interesting piece on the emigrate NZ website comparing the UK and New Zealand climate. The article provides comparisons between New Zealand cities and London, Edinburgh and Birmingham. To make it easier to compare like-with-like, they’ve swapped the New Zealand months around as if New Zealand was in the Northern hemisphere.

This way you can directly compare British winters with New Zealand winters, etc. Here’s how Wellington compares (if you visit the emigrate NZ link above you’ll see Wellington isn’t as favourable as other cities in New Zealand, but it does have a high annual total of sunshine hours).

Wellington vs British Cities
Average Daily Maximum Temperatures (oC)

Month Wellington London Edinburgh Birmingham
January 11 6 6 6
February 12 7 6 6
March 14 10 8 9
April 15 13 11 12
May 17 17 14 15
June 19 20 17 19
July 20 22 18 21
August 21 21 18 20
September 19 19 16 17
October 17 14 12 13
November 14 10 9 8
December 12 7 7 6

Wellington vs British Cities
Average Number of Rainy Days (0.25mm or more falls)

Month Wellington London Edinburgh Birmingham
January 18 15 17 18
February 17 13 15 14
March 15 11 15 14
April 14 12 14 15
May 13 12 14 14
June 12 12 15 13
July 10 12 17 15
August 9 11 16 15
September 11 13 16 14
October 13 13 17 16
November 16 15 17 17
December 17 15 18 17

Wellington vs British Cities
Annual Hours of Sunshine

Wellington London Edinburgh Birmingham
Sunshine 2,050 1,500 1,350 1,400

One fact that does make New Zealand winters more bearable is that the country lies closer to the equator than the UK, which means that its winter days are longer and nights are shorter. For example, Auckland in midwinter has sunrise at around 7:35 am and sundown at 5:15 pm. London has sunrise at 8:05 am and sundown at 3:55 pm. Auckland’s 9 hour 38 minute midwinter day has the same number of daylight hours as November 1 in London.

However, climate comparisons aside, there is not the magic of Christmas in the midst of our New Zealand winter to bring us some cheer. I always loved the months building up to Christmas in the UK, with the villages decorated in lights and the pubs aglow with roaring fires and a hearty meal. Granted, January and February I found particularly hard, but from March onwards there were little cues from nature to give hope, timed perfectly with Easter and celebrations of rebirth.

And our summer evenings are naturally not as long as the those in the UK, but still long enough (especially for us parents of little’uns!).

We are now all braced for the start of Term 4 and look forward to the sun smiling down on us again soon. Charli and Sophie had a fabulous time at the rec centre today. One of Charli’s school friends turned seven and his parents had invited the whole class to the party. It was a fabulous reunion for them before they return to school on Monday. Sophie got stuck in with the big kids and even found a spare spot at the table for the pizza and cake! They had a smashing time chasing each other on all manner of wheels.

Cripes! Just felt an earthquake! The forces of nature are all a go at the moment!