I grew up in Montreal and my clearest recollections of Winter were salt-stained boots, freezing toes, snow plows, snow drifts taller than me, digging my car out, and slipping on the glacier of uneven ice that thawed and refroze above the Guy-Concordia metro station.
|Ah the joys of air travel during Canadian Winters|
|OK, Winter does have some charms (Chateau Lake Louise, Alberta)|
Moving on, we had 5 years of Winter in Geneva, a serious improvement over Canadian Winters. Skiing at normal temperatures, few blizzards, but we still had that northern blast known as "La Bise" to contend with which could whip the Lake into a frenzy and render cars and benches into instant ice sculptures.
|The effects of La Bise in Geneva|
Melbourne for 3 years was again an improvement, but I still wore boots and a winter jacket; we still used our fireplace....a lot. It just never snowed and I never wore gloves.
Now we have arrived in Perth where central heating is rare, where everyone uses an exterior clothes line, not a dryer, yet the Winter rain comes down in sheets, and the wind whips stinging water into your eyes, and an umbrella will not prevent a drenching. Clothes stay wet and soggy on the line waiting for a dry day between storms. We sleep under our Canadian-weight duvet (called a doona here), and wear Uggs as slippers, as they're supposed to be worn.
All of this Winter fun is feted in the city for two weeks in July known as Perth's Winter Wonderland.
It is celebrated with outdoor ice-skating venues (where the ice is half-melted), an artificial snow ramp for tobogganing, artificial snow balls being launched into the air to the squeals of children who have never known the joys of -30.
|J at Perth's Winter Wonderland last month|
In fact, Winter is sufficiently regarded in these parts that J's class recently presented a performance of "Frozen". J was the King, I think he looks very kingly...even if he did send Elsa to her room for 10 years.
All of this lasts....about five weeks...then Winter is over, O...V...E...R, as in good-bye rain, hello warm sun on my face, good-bye heavy duvet, hello crazy 11-year olds swimming in the ocean waves (it is still technically Winter), and welcome back shorts and t-shirts.
|Cottesloe Beach last Saturday|
|J and his mate T braving the Winter waves|
That's how I explain Winter in Perth.