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Posts Tagged ‘winter in Wellington’

(The second in an occasional series)

  1. Being warm in bed listening to the rain on the roof
  2. Watching a good storm
  3. A night in with a good bottle of red wine
  4. Boots and woolly socks
  5. No guilt going to a movie on a Sunday afternoon (or any afternoon, or morning, or … )
  6. When it gets dark early you can’t see what needs doing outside
  7. Wearing layers to hide under, with lots of flattering black, is acceptable if not compulsory
  8. Knowing it’s going to end (just not too soon, please, as I’m quite enjoying it)

 

ngaio winter

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I’m currently wearing a scarf inside, as the house is slow to warm up this afternoon once I got home from spending the morning out at the gym (and enjoying a coffee, of course). We’ve had four days in a row when temperatures haven’t got over 7oC, and my weather app says that it is currently 4oC outside, but with wind chill feels like -1oC, and of course, on top of all that, it is raining. Yes, I need to be careful what I wish for.

On the bright side, today was a good day in my extended family, as  – after spending most of my schooldays hearing my name used in a mocking way – I could finally be proud to hear it called out, when my cousin’s daughter’s name was announced, and she stepped up to the dais to receive her silver medal at the Olympics. She won her medal in the trap shooting competition, a sport she took up when her parents were looking for a sport that the family could do together, including her wheelchair-bound eldest brother. It was perhaps a logical choice too, as her grandfather and my father and their other brothers and brothers-in-law were all keen duck-shooters back in the day, shooting for the dinner table, not Olympic medals.

The Olympics have only just started, and due to the time zone, events begin around midnight NZ time and run right through the night, so I suspect I won’t be getting a lot of sleep for the next week or so. I’m also still a sop, a sucker for an award ceremony, or the elation of an athlete at their great performance, so I have to watch the Olympics with a tissue box nearby.

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I’m still waiting for winter to really kick in. We’ve had some windy weather – I live in Wellington after all – some rainy weather, and some windy and rainy weather. But we’ve had some almost balmy weather, and with clear skies and bright sunshine. As I try to strengthen my foot – it’s taking as long as I was told, but so much longer than I expected –  I’ve been able to take advantage of calm, fine weather, and walk around the Bay.

Oriental Bay jul 16 ed

I do hope though that we get a few cold days, although I’m probably tempting fate by even saying that. I like to wrap up warm and have an excuse to wear a hat and gloves, and then I can truly appreciate spring when it arrives. To be fair, I could also probably experience much colder weather if I went for walks early in the morning. But I don’t have the same appreciation for getting up early in the cold and dark!

 

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I have a number of posts prepared, but rather than post them now I’m waiting for other things. For example, I’m waiting to do some baking (and take photographs) before I can publish my afternoon tea posts. I’m waiting before posting any travel-related posts because I’m hoping (soon) to kick off the travel blog and perhaps I should post there instead. But I’m waiting because this is all tied up with a business proposition, and decisions are difficult. I’m waiting to post about my year of Mandarin simply because parts of it are difficult to write.

I had been waiting on low winter temperatures to post this photo, wanting to write about rugging up to keep warm, about hats and scarves and woolly coats, bare trees, and wild weather, but despite the short days and long nights, the temperatures have been stubbornly mild. Finally, though, on the weekend, I looked out the window, and exclaimed, “they’ve all gone!” Yes, the trees know that winter has arrived, even if the thermometer isn’t quite there yet.

 

P1190686 last leaf

Lonely last leaves

 

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Winter is coming soon to a southern hemisphere country near you. On Wednesday and Thursday, it popped in to say hello. It was, I think, a promotional visit, reminding us that it will be here soon, giving the occasional taste of what is to come, and letting us know that we should start making plans now. The permanent release will come soon enough. That promotional tour  around the country was bad enough that for a day or two I needed a fleece, something called socks made a cameo appearance, and we had to remember where to find the heating control, and how to use it.

But today, summer has returned for one last ditch push to stay on top of the charts. This morning the harbour was calm, but deserted. The ship berthed at the wharf was piled high with containers, and the Blue Bridge ferry crossed with some of the last of the summer tourists, but there were no cruise ships, or yachts, or swimmers out in the harbour. Gone too were the sunseekers on the beach, and even the joggers and walkers had an extra layer of clothing on. Still, there were one or two rowing crews and a just two kayakers making the most of the glassy surface, and the sun pushed through, the temperatures returning to the 20s just in time for the weekend.

As the harbour reflected the buildings and hills that surround it, I became reflective too. I haven’t been able to make the most of this summer – not a single picnic (unless a Subway sandwich on Petone foreshore counts) or barbecue on our deck – but for once, after months of consistently warm weather, I don’t think I will feel cheated when winter returns for a blockbuster season. Just as long as it holds off for a while yet.

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ngaio winter

  1. I have a good excuse for doing nothing on weekends, especially if it is windy, rainy and cold outside.
  2. Winter sport: There’s always a sense of occasion settling in to watch a rugby test in the cold and dark, whether it’s in the evening here, or we have to get up at 3 am (as we did last night to watch the All Blacks beat the Springboks, though it was not a sure thing till the last few minutes).
  3. Seasonal food:  roast vegetables, vegetable soups, hearty stews, and their leftovers made into yummy beef and cheese pies, the robust red wines that go with them all so well, and the occasional, indulgent hot puddings.
  4. Any time after 6 pm is dark, so it always feels like we’re hunkering down safe and warm in the middle of the night.
  5. Coats and scarves, and occasionally hats and gloves, though it hasn’t really been hat/glove weather this winter.
  6. I don’t bemoan the gym’s lack of air-conditioning on cold mornings.
  7. A cup of chamomile tea every evening.
  8. Snuggling under the duvet.

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The day dawned cold, crisp and clear, a welcome change from the rain and wind and bitter cold of the last few days, in this particularly wet and windy (so far at least) winter; a winter that has given us day after day of low clouds and dampness and some of the wildest winds we can remember, leaving our poor house with yet more pronounced cracks in the wall, and even when the winds have abated, Wellington has lived up to its windy reputation and there’s been enough to deter me from stretching my legs and clearing my head around the hills of Ngaio, and although there was no such excuse today, I worked out at the gym enjoying the views of Evans Bay – the water with just enough movement in it to sparkle like a bed full of diamonds in the low morning sunlight –  and anticipating the coffee on my way home, before spending the rest of the day here, doing some writing and correspondence (though still not the hand-written card to someone special, as I cannot decide which photograph to use), some chores around the house, and even some job-searching, and whenever I leave this rather dark office, I marvel at how glorious this house is on a sunny winter’s day, the low sun reaching all the way to the back walls of our rooms, filling the house with light, a rich warm glow from this distant mid-winter sun, managing to heat the house naturally (though maybe only for an hour longer, though certainly not two), before the smoke will start rising from the chimneys in the valley below me, and the street lights will come on, and maybe some mists will rise as the sky darkens and the hearty red wine calls.

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