Posts Tagged ‘weather’

Winter starts here

Today is the first day of winter, which in the UK heralds months of going to work in the dark, heavier rain, thick ice on early morning windscreens, miserable faces and leaving work in the dark. Escaping these is often a reason for Brits packing their bags and moving to Australia or other warmer climes.

It was part of Bruce and Fran’s thinking too, even though they expected Melbourne – what with its “four seasons in one day” reputation and southerly location – to be only a little better than the UK. Despite landing at the start of an Autumn heatwave that peaked at 40C mid March, the warnings of Melburnians and, for that matter, a handful of expats, ensured we made the most of it.

“Oh, it’s great now, but you just wait for winter,” they’d say. “Winter’s really bad. It’s so cold and darkand dreadful and…” They painted a picture so bleak it made the Russian weather that defeated both Hitler and Napoleon seem like a mere bagatelle, a gentle snow flurry.

So we’ve been waiting.

And waiting.

And waiting.

And today winter arrived. Blue skies. 18C. No wind. Kids playing on the beach. People in shirtsleeves sipping wine and coffee in roadside cafes. Sun so bright its rays are reflected off city centre skyscrapers like a giant flashlight.

Perhaps Melburnians need to grow a spine and a sense of perspective. Spring is now three months away. Can this really be called a hardship? Well, yes, if you listen to the locals, nestled in umpteen layers of warm clothing and scurrying into cafes and restaurants proclaiming the need to thaw out. Or the article in Saturday’s Age warning that this would be the coldest Melbourne winter in ten years with temperatures returning to the average daily high of just 14.3C.

Listen up: that is not cold.

What is cold?

Cold is smoking two cigarettes to the nub while receiving a phone bollocking from Fran while stood outside a bar in Boston, Massachusetts, during a February cold snap – day time top temperature: minus 26C.

Cold is swimming in a heated outdoor pool in Moscow on January 2 with air temperatures of minus 20C that form a steam cloud over the water so thick you can’t see the floating turd some comedian has deposited until it’s too late to take evasive action.

It is not jogging alongside the palm-lined waters of Albert Park with the 2pm sun beating on your back. It is not enjoying a long brunch on Acland Street wearing just a t-shirt.

It is not cold.

Mind you, Bruce does have one. A really rotten one too. So rotten he’s lost his voice. Best wrap up warm, I guess.


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