January 12th, 2011
Like Week 1 in this series 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History, I am finding it hard to remember things from my childhood. I simply cannot remember winter in Queensland although I was there for over 40 years which seems unbelievable.
However I think I didn’t really appreciate winter and the other seasons of the year until I went to live in Canberra in 1999. Canberra is a city where you do experience all the seasons and there is quite a difference between them. Autumn is the time when the foliage turns a brilliant red and golden hues before the leaves fall to the ground. In winter there are no leaves and everything looks quite dead (except for the pine trees), the days are short and you quite often wake up to the most amazing frosts on the ground which makes it look like it has snowed. Come spring, all the trees and other plants renew themselves and everything becomes green again and you know that winter is over. That first winter in Canberra it actually snowed for me and I remember talking to my mother on the telephone while standing on my balcony watching the snow fall!
In Brisbane’s semi tropical climate you don’t really see such a contrast between the seasons so I think my lack of memories is because so much of the year was the same only with summer being hotter and more humid.
One winter memory from my Brisbane childhood does stand out and that is because I was a very sickly child and suffered from bronchial asthma during my primary school years. I can’t remember how old I was (probably early 1960s) when one winter my doctor told my parents that they should buy me an electric blanket as it would keep me warm without the additional weight (and dust) of the blankets I usually had piled up on top of me. There was some debate because of the ‘expense’ so electric blankets must have been a relatively new product but my parents did end up buying me one and I used it for years. My health also improved and by my teenage years I had outgrown the asthma.
Nowadays I think we tend to use doonas more than electric blankets although some people still prefer the latter. I haven’t used one (except in motels when travelling) since I left home in 1975. Even in cold Canberra all I had was the doona, although a heavy duty one!
Winter here in Melbourne over the last 7 years has been relatively pleasant, not all that cold or wet due to the drought (which is now well and truly over). But Melbourne can have really cold December days so even though there are clear seasons here, there are often times when that is blurred. Sometimes you even have all 4 seasons in the one day!!
I am looking forward to Week 3 in this series – just hoping that it is on a topic that I can remember!