It's the first day of winter here on the Sunshine Coast, and we're all pulling out our woolies and putting extra doonas on the beds.
Well, maybe not quite, but we have been wearing long sleeve shirts in the evenings and mornings. Many of the surfers are wearing wet suits (although Charlotte and I were still in our rashies when we went out on Saturday.) And I did change my plans for supper: instead of the Thai lamb salad I was considering, there's now a pot of minestrone simmering on the stove.
According to an article in the Sunshine Coast Daily, it's supposed to be a slightly milder than average winter -- lows around 9 degrees, highs of 22-23. That, the paper says, "means it may be cold enough to break out the beanies and Ugg boots" but not the heavy winter coats. Or, in my case, it means I may have to pull on long pants and socks.
It's funny that Australians call June 1 the first day of winter. There really isn't an equivalent marking of the season in Canada. May 24 is the beginning of summer, and Labour Day is the beginning of fall, but winter and spring begin much more vaguely.
Sure, the solstice on Dec 21 is usually noted as the official start of winter (most often in mid-November when we've got two metres of snow on the ground and some smart alec points out that it's only another month until winter begins.) But the real, psychological start of winter is pretty nebulous. It's not even the first snowfall, really, because the snow that falls in October or even early November is usually just an autumn snowfall. Winter begins sometime between deer season and Christmas, when the snow looks like it's going to stay.
For this upcoming winter down here, though, I'm not too worried about the temperatures. As long as we get a bit of sunshine, I'll be happy. Besides, I'm looking forward to a change of seasonal produce: fresh oranges have started to appear in the shops, and apparently strawberries will soon be coming along. Mid-winter strawberry picking? Now that's not too hard to take.