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The best things about winter in Queensland.

I love winter, it’s my favourite season. In this corner of South East Queensland we usually have long, hot summers and very short winters. Today is a perfect winter day typical for this region – clear skies, light breeze and 20˚C at midday. But it’s been a strange season with chilly days from early June until the last week. We’ve had floods, freezing temperatures and lots of frosts. August is a wicked month where we can expect blustery Westerly winds. We’ve already had some so maybe we will be spared this year?

In houses that are mainly designed to cope with hot weather, we’ve been turning on the air conditioners and lighting up the wood-burning stoves. Greenies like me worry about adding to climate change so we’ve been doing our best to manage the situation. I’ve found a source of well-seasoned wood to burn in my sealed fireplace. It burns away slowly and completely which is the best I can hope for. Solar power will be installed very soon so I’ll be joining the millions of Australians who are embracing this energy source.

There is nothing like a fire to add to the feeling of relaxed warmth and peace. A few extra layers of clothing help too. Many years I don’t get to wear my much-loved winter coats so it’s a good chance to give them an outing.

It's a funny thing about lighting a fire. I've been doing it the same way all my life having learnt from my parents - we had a wood-burning stove in the family home. I place some carefully crumpled paper in the fireplace, top with light kindling then a few heavier pieces. These days I throw in a couple of firestarters for good luck. On a good day it takes one match and everything does what it should. Other times it take six copies of the Weekend Australian, an armful of kindling and two packets or firelighters to get it going. Slight exaggeration but it's very frustrating. Why is it so? I know; it's the downdraft or something but it feels like a malicious force is taking over. Usually just when I decide I'll do without a fire today thank you, it suddenly bursts into life.

Winter is a time to forget about the diet and indulge in those delicious soups and stews with plenty of crusty bread. Hot chocolate, porridge, warm puddings – there is a lot to love. August also brings the EKKA – the Royal Queensland Show. It’s usually heralded by the previously mentioned cold winds. It’s been cancelled for the past two years due to Covid and we wait to see what will happen this time. It's worth going just for the strawberry sundaes.

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