A funny and not so glowing review of winter from a busy mother of three! — I have a horrible relationship with winter. I detest it. I don’t function properly when I’m cold, if I open the curtains and see a grey miserable sky, my first thought is to return to my bed, followed by my second thought which includes a four lettered profanity. I live in a bungalow. Apparently back in the 1950’s when the little gem was built, NZ’ers were a lot harder, as there is no insulation and until recently, I had bare wooden floors. How on earth did they survive during the winter?? The tip toe dance to the bathroom in the morning is torture, and then the issue of the ice brick toilet seat is enough to make one shudder in horror.
Adding to my bad romance with winter is the ever constant winter sports. I have three very active children. I always moan to my friends that I wish I had raised ‘Playstation’ kids instead of sporty ones. I thought I was making the right decision at the time when I hauled my eldest at the tender age of 5 to the local football club and signed him up….followed by his two younger sisters. Ten years on and I am paying the price for such folly. Saturday and Sunday mornings spent standing in the whipping wind and horizontal rain at the local netball courts, followed by a mad dash across Auckland city to stand in more wind and more rain but this time adding a good lashing of mud at a league game. I’m not going to delve into the 7pm weekday trainings, where you have to sit for two hours huddling for warmth in your car and trying to control your bladder because sports clubs never open their bathrooms for parents who are waiting for the kids to finish training, and because I don’t have the luxury of ranting all day, I wont even start on the clothes washing! The power bill that goes through the roof because of the dryer going day and night due to the endless muddy wet clothes, or the worst of the lot, the wet dog, who at every opportunity, tries to take flight into the house to keep out of the elements.
So, as I was standing in my front of my house one day, cursing the weather while trying to extract the hoard of groceries from my car in the rain, I was interrupted by a neighbour of mine. (Please note, when I am in a bad mood, I have an extraordinary vocabulary).
My neighbour has been in New Zealand now for 5 years. She is a refugee from Somalia, who moved here with her young family for a better life. She is an entertaining and interesting character who often stops when walking past for a chat. She happened to be walking home in this dismal weather when she heard my ‘extraordinary vocabulary’.
‘Carla, Carla, what is wrong with you that you use such words?’
‘The stupid rain Fatima, it never (bleep) stops…what is this…England??’ I reply, with rain streaming down my face and making me the template for the Jokers makeup job.
‘Hush Carla’ She replies ‘You New Zealanders don’t know how lucky you are’.
I return a crazed Joker stare…the woman obviously is nuts.
‘You all moan moan moan about the rain, all day you moan and moan’ (Fatima has a habit of repeating words)’You don’t see it for the blessing it is, in my country we pray endlessly for rain and it hardly comes, you don’t know what it is like to live without rain, the rain…..I love the rain, and this cold, it is a blessing’.
Fatima then goes on to tell me she would like to come over for a cup of tea next week, then without waiting for a reply, takes herself off home.
I am left standing in the pouring rain, grocery bags in each hand, lost for words. I then decide maybe, I should save my extensive extraordinary vocabulary for something else from now on.
Winter in New Zealand may be cold and rainy and windy and grey, but at least our country has a weather system that continues the cycle of life without too much struggle. We have our ups and downs, but being cold and wet is a small price to pay for the lush green, rolling hillsides, the amazing fauna our country has, and the snow capped peaks that never fail, no matter how many times you see them, to take our breath away and take quiet pride in this country of ours.
By no means are winter and I friends, but I can confidently say I have built a grudging respect for the big W. I am also happy to say I have found a new use for my extraordinary vocab….its called ‘The Build Up To The Rugby World Cup’.
– Homepage image / File, Rose Taylor
– By Carla Gordon