Chewing Gum and Hectopascals. 4th February 2011

I guess when one doesn’t walk all week due to work, then there shouldn’t really be an entry in a hiking blog. I feel like waffling though, so you’re not going to get off that easily and you’ll just have to put up with other stuff.

First of all, the topic of the week was definitely Cyclone Yasi, which hit North Queensland. If you know any weather freaks they’ll tell you it was a ‘whopper’. I do like a bit of weather and took an interest into what was going on. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has a website full of stuff to satisfy the weather nut in us all. I looked at the updates as the cyclone approached a weather station on Willis Island off the Queensland coast.


Willis Island during Cyclone Yasi

Now, what made my eyes pop was not the wind speed suddenly turning calm, which I presume was when the weather station was obliterated, but the air pressure measured in hectopascals. When I saw the figure 937.9 I couldn’t even comprehend where that would be on a barometer. So, I checked out mine to have a look.


Mm… 937.9 doesn’t really fit on

Okay, the answer is that reading would be off my barometer! Now, that is low air pressure. I remember as a kid looking at the barometer and never seeing the needle dip into ‘Much-Rain’. I used to say, “Wow, imagine what it would be like if the needle went into stormy!”  Well, there’s the answer. A cyclone is stormy! It was interesting watching people lapping up the constant 24 hour news service and it’s as if someone else’s misery is our entertainment.

Anyway, I’m hoping to walk tomorrow even though the weather forecast is,

“…Heavy rain developing around dawn, easing to scattered showers during the afternoon. Scattered thunderstorms in the morning…”

It’ll be interesting to see how it goes.


As I’m a walking toaster the hot and humid week has affected me a lot. I wasn’t the only one feeling it though, as the other day I met a door to door salesman whilst he was trudging up my driveway. I gave him the robotic, “No, I’m not interested” answer and he replied with, “Okay, can I get a drink of water instead?”

I can’t say I’ve had that one before, so I went inside and grabbed a novelty Coca-Cola glass which could pass for a bucket. I filled it up as a bit of a joke and took it out to him. He grabbed it and started glugging it down without stopping, and I was left wondering how he was still breathing. Somehow he finished it in one hit. The bloke must have been dying of thirst.

There’s not much else to add for the week other than an observation, whilst I was in the train one morning. There were 11 people in front of where I was standing and five of them, (yes, five) were munching on chewing gum. That’s a pretty high ratio of chewers to non-chewers isn’t it?

What’s the go with chewing gum anyway? I’ve never understood, as it seems a bit pointless. Exercising the jaw? It’s not food. Instead it’s this rubbery sort of thing that won’t go away whilst stuck in the gob. All these years later and I still don’t get it.

A couple more things bother me and one of them is whistling. I reckon someone should whistle only if they’re as good as the blokes in ‘A Bridge on the River Kwai’. A bloke near me the other day was ‘whistling’, but most of the time he was exhaling air rather creating noise. I was afraid I might get hit by some phlegm instead of hearing a tune.

My last thought. I feel a little funny when I hear white, middle aged blokes say ‘ciao’ to each other. I reckon if one is European or South American it’s acceptable. Hearing white bread blokes saying ‘ciao’ makes my skin crawl a little. It was topped yesterday when at the end of a phone call I heard a bloke say, “Ciao baby” Yeah, okay, even a day later I find just writing that makes me feel a little queasy.