Saturday, 24 May 2014

Embracing The Cold

"What good is the warmth of Summer", wrote Steinbeck,  "without the cold of Winter to give it sweetness?"

I've been pondering the wisdom of these words these last couple of weeks as I've read, with a twinge of envy, of my blogging counterparts in the northern hemisphere starting to welcome in the sunshine while here in Western Australia the days are getting darker and the rain and the wind are becoming daily visitors. I've always loved warm weather and detested the cold with equal passion. The four years I spent living in Darwin, in Australia's tropical north, were blissfully balmy and laid back; I only owned one jumper in all that time and only ever wore it whenever I went to the cinema, where the aircon was always set far too cold. On the other hand, the year I spent in Sweden, with its extremes of dark and cold, challenged me on a level I had never been stretched to before. I remember the day in January I left Australia was 37 degrees C (98.6 degrees F). I arrived in Sweden 24 hours later to -17 degrees C (1.4 degrees F). The climatic culture shock was collosal. I was convinced I would never be warm again. The Swedes have a very philosophical way of approaching the Winter, however. They have a saying I heard many times over the course of that year: Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläderThere is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. 

So as the last days of Autumn fade away and my least favourite season kicks in for good, I thought that rather than going into complete hibernation (as I am more than tempted to do) that I would focus on the things I actually enjoy about Winter. I can't count snowmen or snow fights or snow angels or any other snow-related pasttimes for obvious reasons, but I will do my best nonetheless ... 

Ten Things I love about Winter

1. Coats. A coat, as they rightly say, can hide a multitude of sins. For me, those sins usually involve going to pick up my son from school with my pyjama top still on at 3 o'clock in the afternoon but zipped up under my trusty coat, no-one is any the wiser.

2. Hot chocolate. Need I say more? Hot chocolate just has a way of warming the cockles of the heart.

3. Movies and snuggling. I've been putting on lots of movies recently and cuddling up on the couch with my munchkins. I feel much less guilty about letting them watch the box when it's pouring with rain outside :)

4. Not having to water the garden. I know this really shouldn't be on the list because I do love my garden, but I am lazy by nature and love the fact that nature takes over at this time of year and gives me a break from that chore.

5.Not having to wash the car. Who am I kidding? As if I ever wash it anyway. But at least in Winter it looks clean!

6. Footy season. There are definitely reasons why the (Australian Rules) football season should not make the list (driving long distances to stand out in the elements early on Saturday morning does not exactly rate as one of my favourite pasttimes!) but Ben is loving the sport so much that I would do it every morning just to witness his excitement each time I take him to a match. It's been a great way for him to forge new friendships as the new kid at school too.

7. Minestrone. It takes me all morning to chop up the veggies but I suppose that keeps me out of trouble and the result is always worth it - a warm and hearty meal that always lasts several days. Annalisa, my fussy eater, loves it too. She gobbles it up and the warm broth in her tummy always makes her sleep better than usual afterwards.

8. The flies fly away at long last. I cannot stress enough just how wonderful it is to be heading out of fly season. These pests seem to have multiplied vastly in number in the last few years. Or maybe I am just becoming more neurotic!

9. Not having to choose between suncream or sunburn when going out for a walk. When there is a break in the rain and we dare to venture out for a stroll with Annalisa in the pram, the late Autumn light is soft and gentle on our skin. Living in this part of Australia means really having to take skin protection serious; that hole in the ozone is pretty close to us!

10. Hot water bottles.  On chilly mornings if I wake up before the kids, I like to make myself a hot water bottle and curl up with it on the sofa with a book. This week I'm reading (rather appropriately) A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy. Maeve always puts me in a good mood in the mornings and helps my brain to unwind in the evenings.

There, I did it! Perhaps there's no need to go into hiberation after all :)

Ten Things of Thankful

What do you love most about Winter?

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