Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Winter Down Under

Winter has come to Australia, sort of. I say sort of because the sunny days are still glorious! The sun heats the air to a beautiful 70 degrees or so, usually with no wind or a warm breeze. Once the sun sets, temperatures plummet to around 40-50 degrees, though some nights have been even less. The real "wintry" days are the rainy ones (no sun, no warmth!) with the nasty winds coming up from the south. Think about what is south of Australia: Antarctica, and there's nothing warm about that! On those days, dropping Ellie off at school is no picnic. That gorgeous spot across from the beach means exposure to gale force winds first thing in the morning (last Friday brought gusts up to 125 kmph). Yikes! But the worst of it: it's cold inside the house. Australians forgot about seasons when they built houses. Our house is old and beautiful, with wood floors and high ceilings. No sun gets directly in the windows, which keeps it livable in summer...but ooooo the winter! No sun means no warmth, so the average temperature in the house hovers around 60 degrees. That temperature is lovely for sleeping, but not so great for waking hours. We have gas heaters in the kitchen and living room that work wonders (lovely warmth in 5 minutes or less), and the girls have space heaters in their bedrooms. We also installed a safety heater in the bathroom; it doesn't do much, but it does take the bite out. In the other rooms, you'd better grab a sweater and some thick socks. Back here in the "study", the temperature ranges from 57-64 degrees (depending on clouds or sun outside). One of the reasons blog posting has been sporadic lately is that it's just too darn cold! My hands are turning into little popsicles as I type this entry. Oh, woe to me.

I grew up with central heating. We never were one of those families that kept it so warm inside that you could wear short sleeves (too wasteful!), but I never remember being cold in the house either. This has been an adjustment. Long johns have become pajamas. I own my first requisite pair of Uggs, native to Australia and now I know why! (Thank you, Leonie, for tipping me off to their necessity!)

The trickiest part has been dressing our most incredibly determined CEO, who insists not only on dressing herself but dressing herself for summer. You couldn't pay her to wear a sweater or her pink Uggs (thought the pink would work, but NO). For the past several weeks now, she has had an outfit of choice that consists of a long sleeved t-shirt, thin cotton pants (leggings), a thin cotton summer dress, and one of my that order (you can see the ensemble in the posting about mealtime). I knit her a cute little vest-like top, which I've managed to wedge into the daily assembly between the t-shirt and the cotton dress. Witness the peril of the first morning I enforced the wool layer:

You can see the other two layers clutched tightly in her hands. Forget trying to make her wear anything else, and heaven forbid one of the outer pieces is declared too dirty to wear. I have learned stealthy overnight laundering techniques.


Karly said...

Too cute!! Stealthy laundry techniques always come in handy when there is a little one in the house :)

Sorry that it's so cold! I'll trade you some of our ridiculous heat for some of your cold...maybe we can find a happy medium somewhere? ;)

Anonymous said...

Oh Ellie Ellie my stubborn little CEO! But layering is the name of the game in fashion, so your little fashonista is right on target, even if she does turn blue from time to time! Sorry the house is so cold, I myself like a cool house but 60 would be too cold even for me! I have been busy knitting baby items for so many pregnant friends, I promise to put down the baby things and get back to your long wrist warmers pronto, that way you can at least warm up a bit when you are on the computer! MISS YOU!! LOVE YOU!!


Anonymous said...

ps HOW CUTE CUTE CUTE is that top you knitted her!!!!!


schlelly said...

I noticed the eclectic outfit you described in your pictures of the Caversham Wildlife Park. Lil' miss Ellie has a nose for style but she is in for some hard life lessons (like a terrible cold for one) if she isn't willing to listen to her mama! Of course I can't blame her; I still ignore my mom's advice on many occasion and usually suffer some terrible consequence afterwards... Will we ever learn??? I love the knit top you made her. She is such a lucky little girl to have such a talented mom!