The deadliest, jelliest site ever. Brought to you by Niamh Shaw

Wind chill

I’ll tell you for no extra charge, it’s pretty bracing around these parts. Suppose I’d better poke the fire. Eh, maybe it’ll wait another while.

I can’t believe the temperature in this town. I mentioned it to an Oamaruvian the other day, and she said, “Really? I thought this winter was mild.” Although she looked particularly hardy (well-insulated with a tough, crusty exterior).

Our location is undoubtedly a factor. The other day, Husband said, “How come we get so little light? I thought we reconned this house in winter!”

In fact, we first viewed the house over a month later back in 2011. It had been snowing at the time which, in retrospect, probably didn’t help. I mean, you kind of ASSUME it’ll be a bit chilly. You certainly don’t sit around a snowdrift waiting for the sun to come out to assess how much the house gets.

In fairness, the house had been beautifully warm on both occasions we viewed it prior to purchase. With the exception of the two side-bedrooms and bathroom, the house is toasty and dry if we fire up the wood-burner first thing in the morning and keep it going all day. The only issue is the lack of light; in the rare event the sun puts in a cameo appearance, it doesn’t make it over the hill until 11am and is gone by 3pm.

When we first viewed the property, I thought the RE Agent had over-extended her artistic licence describing the place as ‘landscaped’. I’d forgotten this by the time we moved in last year, in early summer. It’s almost impossible to imagine we’ll be struggling to keep the jungle from overrunning the house in a couple of months.

Now it’s all mud, slick leaves and shivering, skeletal trees. The warehouses lining the street below are clearly visible beyond the denuded willow trees and we have a fabulous view of the neighbours’ roof.

Yet I was trimming the raspberry canes the other day; they seem dead from a distance, but up close they are a beautiful russet colour with gorgeous, tiny vibrant green and red buds along their length. It’s quite fascinating getting up close and viewing the garden on a micro level.

Not that I’ve done much of that, due to the weather and the mini-man’s violent indifference to pruning.

Dressed for Oamaru. The hat is one knitted by Finn’s adoring grandma from a French pattern – which may be why it spins around on his head so that the ear flap dangles rakishly over one or both eyes


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