Words and images from home and away
We moved house on the weekend, from our charming apartment in the by-now familiar suburb of Østerbro to a house in what seems like the wilds of Valby. The disruption was partly compensated for when we woke on Sunday morning to the first snowfall of the winter. The look on the children’s faces was priceless. M measured the depth with a ruler at 5-inches. The spell we have all been waiting for is finally cast, and we have all switched quickly to winter mode. As M said, in Melbourne we have to go to the snow; here we are simply in the snow. It did apparently snow quite heavily in Melbourne on 31 August 1849 — 30 cm deep in places—and we exhibit a little of the wonder of those Melburnians of yore:
Yesterday morning, the inhabitants of Melbourne were astonished at beholding the streets and housetops covered with snow to the depth of several inches, being the first occurrence of the kind which has happened since the existence of the town. Travelling, during the forenoon, was very difficult, and few pedestrians ventured out till the afternoon, by which time the rays of the sun had caused a thaw. The fall of snow was welcomed by our native-born youth, some of whom, at the age of twenty years, had never seen such a thing during their existence, and expressed their satisfaction at being thus afforded an opportunity of seeing what they had often heard of—a fall of snow.
On 11 October just past Melbourne had its coldest October day for 40 years; then just last week it was 40 degrees. Here it’s now getting down to minus 10 or thereabouts, and I am now shovelling snow and salting the path and driveway like an old pro. The Copenhagen Post is downplaying reports from elsewhere in Europe suggesting that “the cold snap is just a prelude to what is expected to be the coldest winter in a century”. Have invested in a Fjällräven Barents Parka replete with “large storm hood with detachable fur trim and many practical pockets”. Mawson-like I can take to the streets with complete confidence in its hydratic membrane.
Flocks of small children are marshalled along the streets like garden gnomes clad in colourful all-in-one waterproof suits.
Everywhere now on the footpaths there are stray gloves, scarves and hats that drop unheeded from the unwary crowds like autumn leaves. I have an absurdist image in my mind of a steamy subterranean Lost Property Department where all these winter waifs and orphaned pairs await reclamation.
With the Mawson-like storm hood fully in situ, I need to turn completely sideways to talk to anyone beside me.
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