There is a lovely piece of writing by Linley Boniface in the Dom Post.
It’s her account about what it’s like to suffer the winter cold in a “flimsy wooden shack” (aka house) in Wellington, New Zealand.
If you’re tempted to emigrate to New Zealand and been seduced by stories about its sub-tropical climate read on. If you already live in New Zealand you’ll know what she’s talking about and will perhaps manage a laugh through your chattering teeth:
“Which settler spread the myth that New Zealand was so balmy and sub-tropical that flimsy wooden shacks would suffice?”
“Without wanting this to sound like a suggested script for recruits to the sex chatline industry, I feel an urgent need to tell you what I am wearing.
There is a coat, a scarf, a pair of fingerless gloves and a hat of such hideousness that my small son almost fell down the stairs in fright when he first saw it. There are several tops, two sets of leggings and a pair of the kind of quilted sheepskin slippers rarely seen on anyone who still possesses all their own teeth.
It is, in short, an outfit offering the level of thermal protection an Antarctic scientist might require in order to spend an afternoon dissecting a Weddell seal on an exposed ice shelf. And yet, I am wearing this not on an ice shelf, but in my home office in Wellington. Although I can’t tell you exactly how cold it is in here, my gin and tonic is only a couple of degrees away from freezing over.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, especially in my house. Having once believed I would throw myself on a landmine to protect my children from injury, I now refuse to move away from the fireplace to allow them to defrost when they return home from school. This southern hemisphere Siberia has turned me into a warmth hog.
Walking into my unbelievably chilly house after nightfall last week, I was unable to respond to my dog’s friendly greeting because I was transfixed by a mental image of an illustration I’d once seen of a caveman taking refuge from the cold by sheltering among the still-warm entrails of a freshly killed buck deer.
My dog seemed to sense my train of thought and quickly slunk away. Luckily for her, she is a small dog and her chest cavity would be of use only as a footwarmer: if she’d been a great dane, it would have been a different story.
Ask any migrants to New Zealand what bewilders them most about this country and they will immediately mention our cold homes – as well as our insane driving, our inability to laugh at ourselves and our inexplicable fondness for cheap pies containing mince presumably garnered from recycled camel genitalia.
The cold homes, though, are most baffling, because most people consider hypothermia a symptom of being cold, rather than an expression of national identity.” Read the rest here Which idiot spread the myth?
It could be worse, she could live in Tapawera, Tasman District. Read “So cold it’s warmer outside” 14 July 2010
It’s been so cold at Judith and Kim Rowe’s home that wet clothes have been freezing in the bowl of their washing machine.
“I’ve just been moving the heater in here to try and defrost everything,” Mrs Rowe said, wearing four layers of wool and still battling the after-effects of the flu.
The family have been without much heating for more than two weeks and have been battling frozen pipes, days of permafrost on sunless pathways and temperatures plunging to minus six degrees Celsius as winter settles on their valley near Tapawera, Tasman District…
“We have 1½ rooms we live in, and the rest of the time we just run really quickly from room to room, and we’ve all had the flu. The cat’s gone from on the bed to into the bed. “In the middle of the day, you’re better to just get outside, where it’s warmer…” more here
The forecast for Wellington to 9am Monday 1 June : Min Temp 2, Max 8