It’s been cold recently. Nearly every night for the last fortnight we’ve had the fire lit. The children have suggested several times that I should also light the fire in the mornings. I might be tempted if I didn’t have too many other things to do including getting them to school. Instead I just suggest more clothes. I follow the same suggestion. Right now I am in pyjamas and a sweatshirt, followed by dressing gown and a padded coat. Parents at school drop-offs are wearing all varieties of gear. Some prefer the beanie and glove look, others stubbornly cling to open shoes and light clothes (a rather blue and shivering look), while others drag out their eighties big woollen jumpers (myself included).
The frosts have been heavy in the valley and in the sunken bowl of Ipswich. There are reports of people having to scrape ice off their cars early in the morning. Several days my kitchen hasn’t warmed above the low teens centigrade.
The garden has been lovely. The cold seems to have intensified the colours and increased the blooms. The pelargoniums (Gardening Australia reports that they are back in fashion because of their drought tolerance and people are increasingly referring to them by their proper name, instead of the common mislabel of geranium) are intense spots of colour, the roses had a brief fling of blossom. We’ve had yellow and white jonquils, grape hyacinth and now the hyacinths proper are pushing up mounds of colour and scent. The winter fields are heavy with grass from the earlier rains. Instead of green, there are now stretches of silver and old gold. The wind presses the grass into deep ripples of light and movement across the hillsides.
By many standards, this isn’t really very cold, but it is Queensland. We revel in warm summers and mild winters. People move here from southern states to avoid the cold. We live in raised wooden houses with lots of windows. There are cracks in the floors of old houses like ours that let in whistling gales. This kind of weather is not supposed to be. But it is and like most things we just cope with it and hope for warmth. In a few months people will be complaining about the heat and humidity.
It has been lovely in the evenings with the fire lit. Everyone congregates in the kitchen and dining room. Blithe Girl does her homework at the dining table, the others read in front of the fire while I cook dinner. We often have the radio on and we seem to be enclosed by a circle of light and warmth. We could almost be a model old-fashioned family right down to squabbles, family roles and the passing cow mooing outside.