If there’s one thing I don’t miss about Canberra, it’s winter.
This weekend’s cold snap in the south of the state has been a reminder of just how mild it is here. Warmer than normal according to the locals, but I suspect any single digit temperature is considered freezing and frost is well-nigh apocalyptic. The profusion of scarves and beanies on mornings when Gretta and I are out walking in shorts hints to us having a slightly different concept of what cold is. No doubt that will change as we acclimatize.
I gave up telling people that I was looking forward to a warm winter because I inadvertently offended them when I insinuated they didn’t know what cold was. So now I just smile, nod, agree that yes, it is bitter and then roll my eyes when they’re not looking; like Canadians do when Australians tell them we get real snow down under.
Looking at Facebook this weekend I imagine that some snow, with its warmer insulating properties, would have been preferable to the bone chilling frost that friends suffered in Queanbeyan. With temperatures dropping into the region of -10˚C overnight my old brigade turned out to a house fire in Bungendore. From the comfort of my sun-drenched breakfast table I scrolled through pictures of frozen hose lines and icicle encrusted trucks. I miss being on the tools, but I’m glad I missed that.
Now I’m living the dream how could I go back? I got soaked at work the other day and dried off in an hour. A process I repeated three times; in June! Anywhere south of Dubbo and I’d be in hospital with pneumonia after an effort like that. But here it was still beach weather, if we had a beach.
In fact, Moree has come to life since autumn. It’s cooled down enough to make going outside bearable. Swimming might be restricted to the thermal pools but all other sports and activities are going crazy. While the southerners huddle for warm in front of their fires the locals up here are making the most of pleasant conditions. The winter crop is and it’s had a little rain so now, safe in the knowledge they won’t suffer heat stress or incineration the second they go outside, they are playing every sport that summer precludes. If there’s a game that involves chasing a ball then it’s happening somewhere around here. With sport comes BBQ’s, fund raisers and gala winter balls.
OK, the gala ball is totally fictitious. But you get the idea.
Just last week for example, they threw the local MP Adam Marshall (he’s worth a plug, he’ll go to the opening of an envelope) off the grain silos with a host of other notables to raise money for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter. If they tried that stunt in summer he’d have ended up an atomic shadow on the concrete wall.
Sure, Moree gets bad press, but if this is winter, I’m sold.