THE HEATER IS ON
COLD IS A MATTER OF DEGREES AND INFORMER’S TRAVELS UNDER DOWN UNDER HAVE TESTED HIS THIN NORTHERN BLOOD
For Informer’s second rectangle from the Apple Isle, I am in the foetal position, in the north-west corner of my hotel room, wrapped around a three-bar heater, one-finger typing a single word every 10 minutes or so.
To write any faster or to employ other fingers risks being separated from said heater for too long, thus inviting the likelihood of instant frostbite.
Yes, it’s cold down here. Cold as that Foreigner song about how cold you are.
So cold that even intrepid polar explorers like Scott, Amundsen and Shackleton might lick the old index, bung it outside the tent to test the temperature, decide “Sod this for a game of soldiers” and wait out the winter in Jamaica.
The calendar may say it’s spring, but in Tasmania winter’s grip is, um, gripping.
It’s as cold as a witch’s whatsit. Mind you, Mrs Informer seems to be coping well. She says her whatsit has never been warmer.
And the truth is I’m happier than I was yesterday, when it was even brisker.
At the moment it is five degrees, which is one better than the forecast of only four, so that’s a wintry win.
I’d raise a hand in triumph except, as I say, I’m not letting go of the heater.
The funny thing is, growing up in Tasmania I don’t remember ever feeling the cold. We walked to school in fog so thick we carried lanterns.
The frost carpeted the ground white until lunch time.
We played footy on frozen ovals with grass so hard and spiky that it was nothing unusual for players to leave the ground with stab wounds.
Living in Queensland, there’s never really any cold to feel. Winter is a concept for Game
of Thrones more than an actual thing, and as much as every year Queenslanders dress in their woollies and coats as if winter is real, it’s not. Down here, however, it is real and raw and relentless.
I went for a run the other morning. It’ll be OK, I thought, as I left the toasty confines of the hotel lobby and approached the automatic doors. Whoosh, they swished, or swish, they whooshed — it was one of the two — and in surged a gust of such cryogenic cruelty that all dangling parts of Informer’s anatomy immediately scuttled away, possibly not to be seen again until summer.
Oh well, I thought, at least I’m more aerodynamic now, so off I gamely trotted.
About thirty seconds in I heard a strange crackling noise. It was my nipples breaking off. A few minutes later all the hair on my body had frozen solid and snapped. Informer is now completely bald.
No matter what I do, I just can’t seem to warm up.
Mrs Informer, who has no sense of irony, keeps telling me to chill out. The trouble is, I just have too much chill in.
Still, if there’s one thing I can’t complain about it is the warmth of the people in Tassie.
This place really is the Apple Isle of my eye. Bollock bustingly cold, yes, but Tassie can still warm the cockles of my heart.
As for my actual cockles, all I can say is turn up the heater and bring on summer. Until then, have an ice day.
“YES, IT’S COLD DOWN HERE. COLD AS THAT FOREIGNER SONG ABOUT HOW COLD YOU ARE.”