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Snow Business

August 16th, 2011 by admin

The lovely weather break in August is cancelled. School is cancelled. Every discussion that is not about the phenomenon of snow in Wellington is cancelled!

Fingers fly over phones throughout the region, sending updates to friends and family. Helena Hutt is snowbound on her scenic Hutt Valley hill. She bundled her children up and sent them outside, after calling their school. “There’s lots of clean snow on the cars, darlings, you could make a snowman!” Fortuitously, they take up the suggestion. The cars will be cleaned off soon.

With her phone and laptop, she soon learns that everyone else is jealous of her. “Sooo lucky, we’re at work.” “No office closings downtown, just soggy here.” “Trapped but in Karori, black ice, kids going mental.”

She peeks into her husband Henry’s study. “Want some tea, pet?”

Henry looks up from his spreadsheet. “Thanks, love.” He couldn’t make it to the plant today, but most of the staff are in. They need to get paid, the floor foreman says, to pay the heating bills at home. Manufacturing has been reeling in New Zealand this year. First he had to put on more capacity after his rival got shut down in the Christchurch quakes – not bad to crush them at last, but not the way he’d wanted to do it. Then the high NZ dollar has been hammering their profit margin. There won’t be a shopping-and-sports trip to Melbourne for the family this spring. Orders in New Zealand, he knows, will come to a halt before the election in November. Why? He’s got no idea, but it happens every time. And now this snow is mucking up his shipping.

Outside, they can hear the children laughing. “Mummy! Daddy! We did it! We made a snowman!”

Together, they go outside to see. The snowman is a meter high, half-melting already in the hail. The children, unused to snow, did not discriminate between the clean snow on the car and the dirty snow on the driveway, so he is rather muddy, for a snowman.  Still, Henry beams as much as the kids do, and goes to get his camera.

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