Winter blues

The one thing that surprised me the most about Perth is that the winters here can get cold. Very cold.

When I arrived in June last year, I was completely unprepared for what the following months would be like. Thinking I was heading for 365 days of sunshine a year, before leaving the UK I sold off the majority of our winter clothing on Ebay and stocked up instead on shorts, swimwear and all things summery. A bad move as I was to later find out.

Within weeks of arriving the temperatures dropped considerably. A few weeks on from that and we decided that there was no way we were tough enough to withstand the Arctic conditions in our damp and depressing rental property. So out to the shops we went, to stock up on more winter clothes, furry lined slippers, portable radiators for each bedroom and a (hideously expensive) gas heater.

Of course many people aren’t bothered by this weather and will be thinking what sort of a lightweight are you. A cold one, would be the answer to that. In my defense, I think that as a result of having lived in hot countries most of my life, my blood obviously now runs thinner than green tea and I simply don’t cope well under 25 degrees.

While it luckily never gets cold enough here for frost or snow, this is the 3rd windiest city in the world. And this wind, whilst cooling in the summer can freeze through to your bones in the winter. Judging by the amount of rainfall last year, it can also be very wet for days on end. This is of course great for the garden and the Australian countryside as a whole, but not so great if you have a dog to walk, washing to dry or small children climbing up your walls.

In addition to Mother Nature, houses here just aren’t built to deal with cold weather. Well, if the truth be told houses here just aren’t built well, full stop. The walls are thin, there is little or no insulation and the windows are of a quality even the ‘3 Little Pigs’ wouldn’t have settled for. While this questionable style of build may keep you cool in the summer, it does bugger all to warm you up in the winter.

Mornings and night time are the coldest. Taking a shower can become something you only brave when absolutely necessary – once in, you find you would rather par boil yourself and lose a layer of skin, rather than bring yourself to leave the hot water. During the course of a day you can both put on and shed multiple layers of clothing. I’ve worn a thermal vest, 3 tops and scarf to brave the morning school run, and then had to peel myself like an onion when out in heat of the midday sun.

Evenings are spent under a blanket, in front of the log fire and with my feet so firmly tucked under the dog that I’m practically wearing him as a slipper. Last night was particularly chilly. I got into bed wearing my PJ’s, fleece (with the hood up around my ears), dressing gown and socks. At this point I was told in no uncertain terms that this was taking it one step too far and I was to at least put the hood down. I of course appreciate that having your wife dressed as a rapper in the bedroom may not scream ‘sexy’, but if it’s a choice between that or frostbite, then I’m afraid keeping all of my limbs intact will win hands down every time.

So a word to the wise. If you are heading to Perth to live, make sure you stick all your woolies, boots and your electric fires into your container. Also accept that for a good 4 months of the year it is a tad on the cool side. If you are renting a house over the winter, don’t waste your money paying for a pool, heated or otherwise. It will be about as practical as an ice pick in Africa, and no matter how ‘tough’ you reckon you are, the likelihood of you ever taking a dip is on a par with that of me removing my UGG’s – it’s just never going to happen.


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5 thoughts on “Winter blues

  1. Hi Rachel,

    How right you are!…..and I was beginning to think I was the only one who was unprepared for the chills of Perth.

    We came from Perth in Scotland two months ago and made our biggest mistake by taking this rental which has no reverse air con or heaters! It has cost us a fortune to get a gas heater and yes, I am wrapping up just like you too!

    Although it’s fairly warm outside, the reality is inside, at this time of year, it is worse than Scotland! At least their we had central heating which I now believe we took for granted! I have never felt as cold as I do now since I was a small child, way before central heating was invented!

    For those coming over, be prepared and bring all your winter woolies and hot water bottles, as you will need them!

  2. Well I have to say I’m glad to be backed up by someone from Scotland, so thanks Sue, for proving I am not a total lightweight!

    It IS the lack of central heating that is the killer – this morning I nearly had to chip ice off the kettle in order to make the cup of tea necessary to defrost my stomach lining.

    Brrrrrrr……!

  3. Hi Rachel,

    Interestingly you have made the same observation as me regarding the ‘obligatory pool’ too! We are more than miffed that we fell into that trap and have to pay around $20-50 pm extra for chemicals for a pool that we won’t be using till Christmas. What misguided fools we were thinking we could use it in Winter! I think by then, even though it will be warmer here, we will be on the lookout for somewhere that has reverse air con as I couldn’t stand another winter in this house. It is a lovely place, but so cold! I never ever thought I would be a whingeing pom…..let alone a frozen one!

    Presumably only Mad dogs and Englishmen (hoping to lay out) in the midday sun would pay for a pool they won’t use or need in Winter! lol

    Ah well…..roll on summer! I am so looking forward to taking off my cardie!

    Brrrrr…..indeed!

  4. I must be a mad b**ch as well as an English girl! We do own a pool, and at the moment it is nothing more than a rather attractive water feature in the garden… however after spending a summer here I would be reluctant to go without. On the hotter days it made the Perth ‘dream’ a reality!

    Incidently I don’t know why you are paying so much for your chemicals… we don’t do anything with the pool at the moment and it looks fine to me… just very cold!

  5. ditto with the cold. being a tropical girl born and raised, i am completely unprepared for this kind of winter. to think i had been arguing with my mom about buying a couple of wool coats, saying it didn’t really get that cold in Perth. Boy, am i eating my words now…

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