‘The Cold, Cold Ground’

The past week or so has seen a cold snap hitting our city. Snow in Thredbo and country NSW. Daily showers across the state. Gale force winds making people duck for cover. Plummeting temps the new norm. The last weekend of May saw this sudden shift. The freezing blast continued even until the first day of June. For some, they found refuge in the heater. It was also time to get that duck down quilt. Since the change of season, nighttime temps have dropped to single digits. By the way, the post title was taken from the first Sean Duffy thriller. That series has Topher’s ‘tick of approval’.

Unprecedented but mild

The past two seasons have seen records shattered. The rainfall for the year’s first five months has been unprecedented. Dams have overflowed. Farmers who’ve suffered months of drought have suddenly been living in Waterworld. Even in Queensland, downpours have been the theme. Summer seems to have long gone. Granted, we had a mild autumn. The winds were only sporadic, though the rain was consistent. The mercury was below-average. For instance, revellers got to make the most of the Easter Show.


This is the first fall since we emerged from last year’s lengthy lockdown. Students have gone back to the classroom. Malls have reopened, ditto restaurants and bars. The retail sector is back in business and the spending is on. Barbers resume to do what they do best. Churches have welcomed back their flock. Even travel has returned, with long queues for eager beavers. The crowds at Sydney Airport wasn’t enough to deter some zealous travellers. The long waits were the result of staff shortages, which COVID precipitated. This is a reminder that, though the flight paths are open, the shadow of COVID looms. The issue with flying is that many people will have the same idea. We live in different times. Jetting off during school holidays may have worked in the past. Yet in this COVID world, we might have to rethink that decision.

The sporting codes have likewise resumed. The National Rugby League (NRL) is on, and so is the Australian Football league (AFL). The stadiums are packed like before the pandemic. When the Swans’s Buddy Franklin kicked his 1000th career goal, it was pandemonium. The scene of the stadium descending upon Buddy was hard to forget. In the warmer months, Melbourne hosted both the Aussie Open and the Aussie Grand Prix. As the rugby calendar unfolds, we would get pumped for another State of Origin series. This winter, who will emerge victorious, the NSW Blues or the Queensland Maroons? Tommy Turbo’s season-ending injury was bad news for us. However, we still have a flurry of holdovers from last year’s trophy-hoisting squad.

Vivid Sydney is likewise back on. The winter spectacle has been missing for the last couple of years. The lights and ideas display coincide with the freezing drop in temps. The show is an evening event, with famous displays across Sydney. This include the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbour, and many more venues around our city. Vivid is sure to attract plentiful visitors, both local and even international.

What to watch

While the last week has been wet and windy, Netflix fans have been treated to season four of Stranger Things. The first volume, consisting of seven eps, dropped last Friday (27/5). The eps are longer than previous versions, clocking in at least an hour. The seventh ep was almost a hundred minutes. By three days, the mainstay series was the platform’s number one show. It unseated The Lincoln Lawyer. After finishing said volume, I did stream a couple of movies, including A Simple Favour and No Sudden Move. Aside from the first two, the final eps of Ozark have also landed. If you’re into tennis, you could also tune in to the French Open. All the semifinals have been decided. As usual, Rafa is the man to beat in Paris. At age 36, he’s aiming to be the oldest champ at Roland Garros. This time he’ll take on first-time finalist, Casper Ruud.

Where to shop

Talk of winter isn’t complete without mentioning the mid year sales. David Jones is offering up to fifty percent off. Rival Myer is also having their mid year clearance. Cotton On had also joined the berserk bargains, with reductions across the board. Surely, others like Just Jeans, H & M, and Target were also hawking similar deals. Meanwhile, Click Frenzy Mayhem just transpired last week. A bevy of retailers participated in the two-day madness. From clothing to homewares, appliances to electronics, accessories to travel, there were bargains galore. Some of the shops jumped the shark, offering huge reductions in the days leading up.

Winter is all about rugging up. I often wear three layers when at home, utilising my thermals. I’ve got a few of them, mostly merino ones but also some cotton/poly blends. Apart from my regular bottoms, I make sure to double up with merino long johns. As mentioned, I’ve very recently unpacked the duck down quilt. Nighttimes could get especially chilly. I also mobilise my Ugg boots to keep my feet warm. This is the perfect time to wear those woollens. Whether jumpers, base layers, coats, or gloves, tis the season.

What to read

In terms of books, I’ve just finished this nonfiction bestseller. The Power of Regret is especially enlightening, using an array of studies to elucidate. The book deals with the world’s least understood emotion. Despite its bestseller status, I believe that this is an underrated effort. The author definitely put in a lot of research and thought into it. Having crested Regret, this marks my fifteenth read of the year. I’ve also tried perusing this Penguin ebook. It’s Nick Joaquin’s collection of stories. The latter is one of the foremost Filo writers. However, upon reading it, I was a little disappointed. His tales have magical realism and gothic elements but they highlight the 19th century. While their literary value is unquestioned, it’s definitely an acquired taste.

There are signs of change. The weather has improved, there are more souls outside, and the sun has come up. Winter may mean shorter days and longer nights. We should make the most of the season…while it lasts.

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