I pulled the car up at the traffic lights where I had to turn right onto the highway and all I could see through my windscreen was thick, grey cloud.
I should not have been surprised, because the forecast had been for heavy rain and generally awful weather, which might be acceptable in the UK at this time of year, but in Perth Australia it is not right at all.
Something to do with a low pressure being somewhere where it should not have been had brought a lot of grey cloud where two days beforethere had been nothing but blue sky and a blistering sun. it was supposed to have rained already, but seemed to be holding off. I wondered if it would last.
I watched the sky, half expecting to see a tiny plane being hurled out of the the blanket of cloud, spinning wildly before it righted itself and glided safely to earth, but that did not happen. Instead, the lights changed and two green arrows flared up out of the dull sky. I put my foot down and drove my car through the on ramp and onto the highway heading towards the airport.
Brother Two, his partner and their baby were already running late, courtesy of a bolt of lightening which had hit the plane they were supposed to board as it was arriving in Sydney to pick them up. This is one of the horrible truths I never like to think about with planes. I imagine any plane I am about to board as being unwrapped from its plastic just before I get on it, but of course most of the time, it pulls up, having just come from where you are going, someone kicks its tyres and it turns around and heads back off again.
My brother had been bumped onto a later flight, which meant another hour hanging around the airport before they could be on their way and an extra hour for me staring at the flight tracker app, to work out if they were going to make the time up.
I still got to the airport before they did. I have not been to the old domestic airport for a while and wanted to make sure I could find it. There was plenty of parking and plenty of people streaming through the arrivals gate five minutes after I got there, but no sign of my brother.
He arrived eventually and I was stared at silently by my very stern looking nephew who clearly had no memory of me from six months ago. Given the fact that he had been awake early and travelling ever since, he was doing very well and allowed me a small smile as I tickled his feet.
As it turned out, I had not been that far wrong about the final descent. My brother described it as one of the worst he had experienced. It was very, very bumpy coming down and while many times you go through a layer of cloud, then clear it at which point the turbulence ends, this apparently was not going to happen in Perth. The plane bounced not only up and down but from side to side pretty much all the way down. He was telling me this as we pulled out for the airport and a monsoon-level of rainfall fell on my car. With my wipers going full pelt, I could only just see the road ahead while it fell. Welcome to Perth.
The rain did not last long and soon we were over at my parents’ place. The baby, who had fallen into a deep sleep, no doubt calmed by the foot tickling, had woken up and was having a fine time hurling plastic balls all over the floor. I had bought a shallow oval plastic tub and he was sitting in it, like a tiny pirate, covering the world around him with yellow, blue green and pink orbs.
So the family is back together and we have two weeks to enjoy watching the baby exercise his new skill of walking around the place. He is already very good at it and seems quite happy to multi-task, wandering around chewing on a biscuit while gathering balls to hurl about, with one eye on the Christmas tree. If that tree makes it through without being pulled over at least once, I will buy a hat and eat it.
We have arrived at Xmas once again.