Extremes (HLD 268)

15 Dec 2020

With summer now here in Australia, we are getting some warm weather.

And when we in Australia say it’s warm, we mean hot. But we’re subtle like that. When we say it’s hot, we mean we’ve had a spate of really warm days, and that it doesn’t get cool at night. And by cool, I mean temperature that means you can sleep.

On our first ‘quite’ warm day, the radio station was alive with people with varying opinions on how much they enjoy the warm weather. There are those who absolutely insist that the only time they enjoy life at all is when the temperature is above 35 degrees celsius.

They were, of course, immediately cried down by the people who insist that heat is unbearable and they much prefer cooler weather. And, of course, by cooler in my part of the world, I’m not referring to snow and ice. Cooler here is under 20 degrees celsius and means you need a rug on your bed at night.

Amongst the hot vs cold brigade, there was even debate over what sort of heat and what sort of cold is preferable. There were people who prefer humidity with their heat. And there were those who really, really like a lot of cold – of the snow and ice variety.

I guess it all comes down to what sort of weather you grew up with, and what you became familiar with – and pleased about. People living in the countries that get snow and ice would love to see the sunshine, but not necessarily the heat waves. People who grew up in tropical places would find dry heat hard to live with, while those of us in sub-tropical places find humidity stifling. Fun for a holiday visit, but not to live with.

I find even within my family, we have variations. There are those of us who were born and bred in this part of the world, who have over multiple generations discovered the need to feel some breeze on your face. I’m one of them, and if I can’t have a fan going in the car, I need to have a window open. Even if you have air conditioning running in the house, I don’t want to have the temperature magically controlled at a certain level – I need to feel the cool air moving! One of my children MUST have a fan running in their bedroom – year round!

Then there are people such as my husband, who was bred in a country where open windows are not such a big part of their housing because lets face it – it was likely either raining or cold. He can quite happily drive in a car for hours with no breeze entering the vehicle in any shape. He sets the temperature that is recommended for weirdo’s in the car, and leaves it at that. I’m forever fiddling with the settings to get the perfect blend of cool (or warm) enough breeze. Or opening windows, which he appears to hate with a passion, given he will surreptitiously use the controls on his side of the car to wind up the window on my side of the car when he’s had enough of the fresh air. Usually within seconds.

As a kid, obviously air conditioning in houses or cars was not an option. Overhead fans were not an option growing up either – we had one or two metal bladed portable fans which were deployed possibly if we’d had a week or two of 40+ temperatures, but Dad was always very conscious of how much electricity those things used, so they weren’t left on for long even when they were. On hot nights, it was always accepted that being outdoors was more comfortable.

My first memory is sleeping on the verandah (the sleep-out) of our house in York. I’m assuming I was sleeping out there because it was hot, not because the three older siblings had just decided to get rid of me, but that is of course always a possibility. They were a feral bunch, and fortunately don’t read these things so can’t debate the issue.

Childhood memories are full of ‘sleep outs’ where a tent was created in the backyard or on a verandah. And do you know, my memories of those experience had nothing to do with the weather? The stars, the insects, the noises at night were the things that stayed in my brain.

Tell me about your weather preferences? Is it childhood related, or not? And are you an extremist (one of the 35 degree and over people?) or would you be happy for the temperature to be spring-like all year round?

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