Winter is my favourite season. Notwithstanding getting up in the dark and cold, and biting westerly winds, I love winter’s toasty warm rooms, open fires, pea and ham soup, colourful sweaters and scarfs, wearing a coat, and Queensland’s stunning azure winter skies and sublime temperatures.
These last few days the soup pot has been bubbling overtime with overnight temperatures dropping to around 4 degrees and below in inner-Brisbane suburbs and frost whitening suburban lawns. And my heart went out to schoolgirl rowers on the Indooroopilly reach of the river as they braved the early-morning chill. It brought back memories of delivering my secondary schoolgirl daughter to rowing training in the pre-dawn winter darkness. Capsizing was not an option!
One of Queensland’s coldest spots is Oakey on the Darling downs, one of my childhood homes. The mercury dropped to -6 degrees there this week. I recall my mother saying the only heating we had in those early post-war years was the kitchen wood stove. She would sit on a chair and put her feet in the oven to warm up in the mornings.
Living in Canberra was an experience in a genuinely cold climate, frosts and fogs frequently lasting to mid-afternoon. Heated windscreens and rear windows were not a common feature of 1970s’ cars, especially those we could afford. I recall friends who would judge the early morning temperature by how many buckets of warm water were needed to clear the ice. A three-bucket morning was a bone-chiller.
But these are the musings of temperate clime dweller. If I was a native of Alaska, or Russia – or Iceland – I may not be so fond of winter.