In the Bleak Midwinter

The endless summer couldn't go on forever. I'd pushed my luck for a year - although one doubts if May-Sept 2012 counted as a summer - and it was time for winter to unleash it's bitter coils, fading my tan and forcing a panicked few days as I knitted myself an appropriately warm scarf.

Well, maybe that would be the case if I'd stayed in Melbourne or Sydney. Up here in Far North Queensland winter goes a little differently. Rather than sitting out horrid winters for the pay off of a glorious summer, up here the locals bear a few months of heat and humidity for six months of beautiful clear skies. Mum and I landed at the end of October and Townsville had just had it's first rain to break 6 months of drought. Can you imagine? I remember having an eight day stretch of blue sky in Lancaster one year and everyone went mental.

Over here? Blue skies and sunshine are the norm. Or they were until my little sister decided to trade in the black and white drabness of Melbourne winter for some tanning time up here...

It decided to rain. And I don't mean 'soaked-in-two-seconds-but-it's-warm-and-the-lightening-is-pretty-cool' rain, I mean British style grey skies and fine soaks-you-through wetness. We had one nice day to swim up in Crystal Creek and that was it. Two weeks of nastiness interspersed by one glorious day to (presumably) keep our vitamin D levels up. Basically everyone in the UK got our typical winter weather - sun, blue skies, warmth - while we got typical British summer weather - warmish, damp, grey - and I greatly disliked not being able to be smug on facebook while everyone back home BBQ'd their hearts out.

A particularly wet sail...

Thankfully the weather has now reverted back to normal. People rarely discuss the weather here (it's a definite British past time) probably because it's usually fairly predictable. However it seemed like all the locals went Brit: "When do you think it'll pass?" "Well it is good for the garden." "Ooo it's horrible!" I think that itself shows how unusual an occurrence a fortnight of wet weather was! In the end I think we had the wettest May for fifteen years or something.

The only downside to our (now) beautiful clear skies is that we no longer have insulation keeping us warm at night. It's normally about 25C during the day, but as soon as the sun starts to dip the temperature follows suit. It's not that it gets particularly freezing - about 11/12ishC - but the houses up here are specifically designed to keep the heat OUT. For the last two nights I've found myself tucked up with a hot water bottle and two blankets, wrapped up like a little baby bear.

It's such a nice time of year though. With no humidity and gentle heat you can sit out at midday and really enjoy the sun rather than being massively paranoid about dying of skin cancer. It also means air conditioning is surplus to requirements and the temperature is just fine with balcony doors thrown open to let in a cooling sea breeze.

In short, when the weather behaves itself this part of the world has brilliant winters. It's going to be pretty difficult to go back to eight weeks of British summer after a few months of this!

See you soon British summertime...!

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