Saturday, May 21, 2011

Shock News - it does get cold in Sydney

Nights have been on the chilly side in Sydney recently and I had a memory of seeing a recent headline along the lines of “Coldest May night in Sydney for ……” so I immediately googled it only to find out it had been the coldest May night for four years which I have to say is a ‘so what’ period of time. Am now feeling cheated that it wasn’t the coldest night for 100 years which would have had the cold chill satisfaction of making statistical history rather than being a mere blip.

We are fortunate that we do have a form of heating – health warning to anyone contemplating a move to Sydney, heating doesn’t come as standard and though 5 oC (41 oF) is the coldest it has got since we’ve been here – when it’s 5 oC inside your unheated house you start doing mad and environmentally unfriendly things like turning on the oven or in the case of some desperate friends in a similarly heat deprived situation in Hong Kong, bringing your barbeque inside for a spot of family heat therapy and a possible dose of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

The upside to the cold mornings is that Sydney has had the most fabulous week of glorious sunny weather during the day. Hard to do justice to the splendour of a Sydney Autumn day but it is sufficient to put everyone in a good mood and to pack the outside tables of all our local cafes with people basking in the sunshine under a vibrant blue sky.

One of the things that made me sad when we left America for Sydney was the fact that I had so gloried in the American Fall and the amazing colours as the trees turned. I would find myself coming to a halt as I drove through our local town as I came across sweeps of trees turning red and gold. You can imagine how popular this halt and leaf peek manoeuvre was with the drivers behind whose faces turned an interestingly appropriate Fall Crimson. The Australian native gums don’t change colour and in fact lose their leaves all year round. They do however do an interesting bit of bark shedding where at certain times of the year they discard their old, tired looking, brown, shaggy bark and emerge sylph like with smoothly grey and elegant trunks – can’t tell you how I long to work similar miracles with my skin. However the imported trees in our road have been doing a fabulous job on the autumnal colour front so I thought I post a couple of photos – note the tangle of wires that acts as a possum highway.

Along with not bothering to have heating inside their houses you can also tell a true Sydneysider, particularly the male variety, by the fact that they wear shorts all year round, regardless of external temperature. My father spent his school days in regulation shorts which represents slightly more of a hardship considering he was at a Scottish boarding school where 5oC was presumably ranked a balmy day. My mother always claims that this permanent early exposure to the elements was reason that he has such very fine legs in a kilt – however I have no such ambitions so will be swaddling myself up as the temperatures drop.


  1. I'm a fellow expat living in Sydney and felt compelled to respond to this post. After over a decade of living here it still cracks me up to see people wandering around in shorts and t-shirts in the middle because it doesn't get cold here! And where did they hide the thermostats?

  2. Hi Twoplacescalledhome, am still shivering away here in Sydney, though also packing for flying trip home to Scotland so guess what is going in my luggage for Scottish summer, waterproof, jumpers etc. I am however taking optimistic precaution of painting my toenails in the hope I can flash them in the sunshine.XXX