The weather in the (Hawke’s) Bay can get impossibly hot in the summer. And the heat can last for many months. This makes the few months of winter very hard to bear. We really haven’t got the clothes for winter and our houses are largely built for summer. In winter we look out our windows that are designed to keep the house cool and over the swimming pool, in which we take welcome summertime dips – the summer scene making us feel even colder.
At this time of year we have to take our hats off to dog owners. They are out there in the late afternoon gloom, enveloped in multiple layers to keep warm and the dogs want to play. They have been shut in all day while their owners are at work and now is their chance. Dogs don’t seem to feel the cold.
The next to catch your eye are the surfers. On certain days with certain winds they ride the breakers off Perfume Point. The worse the storm, the better the surf. They get their chance, maybe twice a month. So when I am warmly snuggled up in the car and the dog owners are bound up in layers of clothing, the surfers are swishing through the waves.
Those rubber suits can’t be that good, surely. But the colder the weather, the more they seem to like it. Sometimes I can have the entire car park to myself, peering out through the odd wipe of windscreen and there they are, black spots on the horizon, apparently having a ball. Should they be at home with a good book or video game? Apparently not – they don’t seem to feel the cold either.
Then there are the walkers. Usually in pairs, off they go through the murk. One of them has probably had a health scare and now they intend to walk whatever the weather. I’m sure that they both haven’t had a health fright so I have to take my hat off to the partner who is either walking with them to keep them company or walking to make sure their other half doesn’t slip off to the pub for an hour.
They make me wonder a bit because so often I see them with hat, coat and gloves against the cold but in shorts. Makes me think, they don’t feel the cold round their legs.
Just when you think you’ve caught up with all the who’s who of the winter walkers, you meet a teenager in jandals, bright, sunny shorts and a fluorescent tee-shirt. They’re as happy as can be, totally oblivious to the cold and would think you were mad if you wanted to talk about it.
Winter puts a whole new face on creation.