Cel­e­brat­ing the joys of win­ter

Big Rigs - - LIFE WITH KERMIE - GRA­HAM HARSANT con­trib­u­tors@bi­grigs.com.au

IF YOU live in the south­ern climes like we do, win­ter is well and truly with us.

It seemed that one day we had a beau­ti­ful sum­mer and the next we were straight into win­ter.

Even the trees got caught by sur­prise and brought on their au­tumn colours af­ter the event, so to speak.

Be­ing in­trepid and lov­ing the out­doors, Rita and I have not given in to the zero morn­ings and (thank­fully so far, rare) icy breezes that ac­com­pany this time of the year.

We just don a cou­ple of ex­tra lay­ers of cloth­ing and take our cof­fees out onto the pa­tio, as is our norm.

Of course af­ter my cof­fee I put on the head­phones and cap, and head off on my walk.

This morn­ing it was -1.6 de­grees when I set off.

That’s a great in­cen­tive to re­ally pound the pave­ment.

By the time I re­turn home I’m hot stuff.

(Spoiler Alert: Rita asks me to make it clear that I am re­fer­ring to my body tem­per­a­ture.)

Usu­ally I have to shove my specs in a pocket as they steam up and view­ing the world hazily is bet­ter than not be­ing able to view it at all.

An­other prob­lem with this time of the year is that it is hold­ing up our house renos, mainly con­sist­ing of paint­ing.

Keen to get the skirt­ing boards, ar­chi­traves, win­dows and doors done be­fore our Steve and Miki come stay with us, means I have to sit the paint tin in front of the heater in the liv­ing room for an hour or two be­fore use, or risk paint­ing with trea­cle.

Don’t tell me about paint thin­ners please.

Tried that and got a huge fail.

I’m also work­ing with short­ened days.

Can any­one ex­plain why the cold­est time of year comes af­ter the short­est day in­stead of on it?

While we’re at it, how come the days get shorter much more quickly than they get longer?

It’s nice to see the lawns re­turn to green and the cracks in the ground heal­ing.

Whilst the nights are cold here, the days for the most part come with beau­ti­ful, clear blue sky.

The bare trees have been com­pen­sated for with an ar­ray of win­ter bulbs start­ing to sprout, which for us is a bit of an Aladdin’s Cave as we didn’t plant them.

Win­ter is also com­pen­sated by hot soups, one-pot din­ners and roasts with lash­ings of veg­eta­bles – which Rita eats while I watch.

It is not the great­est time of the year for di­et­ing.

Our three pet mag­pies hang around now for most of the day and one-legged Tony has taken to perch­ing him­self on the back of one of the pa­tio chairs.

Be­ing not very well toi­let trained, we try to dis­cour­age him.

I walk out and shoo him off the chair wherein he sim­ply moves him­self to the next one, and then the next and next.

It’s bloody mag­pie ring-a-ring-a-rosie!

They say fa­mil­iar­ity breeds con­tempt and so it seems with the ‘pies who have be­come very de­mand­ing.

Rita loves birds, but def­i­nitely from a dis­tance.

Hav­ing them flap their wings around her brings Al­fred Hitch­cock-type night­mares (is any­one out there old enough to re­mem­ber The Birds movie?).

Last week­end we headed over to Yackan­dan­dah, a beau­ti­ful lit­tle town about 20 min­utes south of Wodonga, and where close friends, Don and Linda have re­cently moved to.

Don grew up in the town so it’s back to the egg for him.

They have set­tled in well and are fa­mil­iar faces with ev­ery cof­fee shop in town.

Don asked if we’d like to go to lo­cal footy to which we read­ily agreed.

In his younger years the team was known as the Yackan­dan­dah Cats but changed to The Roos a cou­ple of decades ago.

We trooped across to Ruther­glen and watched the 2nds belt Ruther­glen 24.28 to 0.0. Good footy from our point of view.

The se­niors was a much closer game.

The great thing about coun­try footy is go­ing out onto the ground dur­ing the in­ter­vals to hear the coach gee­ing up the team.

We crowded around to hear his words of ex­ple­tive wis­dom in a very tight game at three-quar­ter time.

Donny, who is very pas­sion­ate and can’t get away from the past kept scream­ing, “Go Cats! You can do this Cats! Pom­mel ‘em Cats!”

This drew very strange looks and a deal of anger from the hud­dled Yackan­dan­dah team.

The op­po­si­tion team, Ruther­glen are the Cats!

Poor Don is strug­gling to keep up with the times.

Back on the bound­ary and he still got Cats and Roos mixed up as he heck­led Ruther­glen, mak­ing for an en­ter­tain­ing arvo.

He is a good heck­ler is our Don, much bet­ter than Rita. The best she could do to a Ruther­glen player as he came by was to shout, “Love your dreads!” — Take care of you, Kermie (93kg)

PHOTO: FILE

WIN­TER TIME: En­joy the cold­est time of the year.

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