I may have been born in the middle of summer but there's nothing I love more than a cold winter's day. Canberra is the perfect city this time of year. We've had our scarlet flush of autumn and now the trees have been stripped bare by a chilly wind. We've had snow already, but the skies have been clear blue. Heating's on. Throw blankets on laps. Things bubbling long and slow in the oven. Here's why I love a Canberra winter.
Who doesn't love mashed potato? Every meal in winter should be served with mash. Lamb shanks, pie, stews, schnitzels. If not mashed potato then dumplings. When was the last time you made a dumpling? Not only for main course but for dessert too. Or if potato is not your thing, do the other "p" - pasta. More specifically pasta bakes. Or the other "p". As in pot. As in one pot. And the ultimate one pot - the slow cooker. And it's not just about dinner. Let's think about baking. Pies, muffins, biscuits and cakes to get you through the week. When you're stuck inside on a miserable day, what better option is there than to cook?
Game of Thrones got it right. Winter is coming. Nothing dramatic ever happened when it was 40 degrees outside and everyone was lolling about sweating in their underwear. Since learning about pathetic fallacy while studying King Lear for the Higher School Certificate back in the day, it's a literary device I've often applied to life. Wind, storms, rain and grey clouds are made for drama. So is the cold. The Ice Storm is one of my favourite movies. I've been obsessed by Yellowjackets, a Paramount+ show about a bunch of schoolgirls lost in the Canadian wilderness. Wouldn't have been near as exciting if they were castaway on a deserted island.
As much as it can be fun to strip down to a bikini, I'll admit I love a good beanie. And scarves. Never been one for gloves as I like my fingers to feel the cold. And everyone needs a good coat. Or two. I recently bought one from Planet Fab, a Melbourne-based designer who makes bespoke coats. You can find them at the Handmade Markets.
And you can take coats off. I'm sitting here in a sleeveless dress today, layers discarded. It's warm in our office. It's warm in menopause. You can walk around the house all day in your socks and your dressing down and no one minds. Thermals are de rigueur.
Is there anything better than a sideline on a Saturday on a fresh winter's day? Nope. The key is to invest in a good pair of boots. I love my Merry People gumboots. If your toes are warm you can get through a full game or two. I love it when the game's so hot there's steam rising from a scrum. When their cheeks are flushed pink with exertion. Getting less fond of the 8.30 Sunday night games at the National Hockey Centre when the pitch is starting to frost over but I'd rather that than a 30-degree noon game on grand final day in October.
Moths to a flame
Who doesn't love a bonfire? Or an open fire? A suburban fire pit? Or even, at a pinch, a sweet-smelling candle? There's something about a naked flame that's so wintry. Something to snuggle up in front of (snuggling, another reason to love winter, see below), something to toast marshmallows over, something to drink mulled wine by, something to thaw out by after an afternoon on the sidelines. Winter would be perfect if only they would bring back cracker night. A bonfire, fireworks and friends and family. The perfect winter get-together.
Body warmth means something in winter. A good reason to move closer, to reach out in the middle of the night. You might both need to agree about the rules governing sock wearing but true winter love can even stand unshaven legs. And we'll lump sleeping in here too. Sunday mornings that are dark and, even better, if it's raining and the noise on the roof lulls you back to sleep. What reason is there to get up anyway if you can't do the washing, or mow the lawn? Or get up and put something in the slow cooker and go back to bed with a book. Perfect.