Monday, 24 July 2017

12 Ways to survive winter

Down here at the bottom of the world it is winter.  In New Zealand this means a lot of rain and, in the southern parts of the country, snow.  Every evening on TV we get breathless and hyperbolic reports about snow falls and flooding in various parts of the country.  Anyone would think this was a new thing but it is winter and it happens every year. We don't get particularly cold here in Auckland.  A cold day would be about 12 degrees although it is usually around 15 or 16.  That's not cold in relation to other parts of the world but we do get lots of rain.  Winter is when we get 'four seasons in one day' so we are never sure  what the weather will be like from one hour to the next - sunny, rainy, sunny, hot, cold, windy.  We learn to be prepared and always carry a brolly even if the sun is out. I have to say I am not a particular fan of winter but I think the best way of handling it is to enjoy the positives.

People don't notice whether it's summer or winter when they're happy
                                                                                          Anton Chekov

So here is my list of 12 ways to survive winter:
1.  Take time to read.  There is nothing more delightful than spending an afternoon curled up with a good book in front of a fire.
2. Make pots of soup, hearty casseroles, steamed puddings, and cheese rolls to eat in front of TV
(cheese rolls recipe at the end of this post)
 3.  Soak in a hot bath late in the afternoon and get into your pyjamas and dressing gown straight  after,  deliciously decadent and cosy.
4.  Stand at a window and watch the rain and/or hail.
5.  Wrap up warmly and go for a walk... exhilarating and you feel so virtuous.
A walk along a wild beach with the waves crashing in is exhilarating
 6. Marvel at nature's beauty in rainbows
7. Catch up on all those TV programmes you have recorded or watch whole box sets
8. Drink red wine, hot chocolate with marshmallows (good reason to go walking) and lemon, honey and ginger toddies

9. Enjoy the winter beauty of your garden, that is if your garden isn't buried under snow!

I enjoy the azaleas in my garden right through winter
10. Treat yourself to a trip to a hot spa. In New Zealand we are blessed with multiple hot thermal pools, a soak in one warms you right through to your bones.
11. Go to bed early and fall asleep to the soothing sound of rain on the roof
12. Make a point of calling in on friends for a catch up.  A cup of coffee or tea and good conversation makes any day seem sunnier.

 Japanese Proverb: One kind word can warm three winter months

And if none of that works and you are still suffering from Seasonal Affective disorder (SAD)  do what I am doing in a couple of weeks time, head off to a warm tropical clime for a break and some healing sunshine. Then just remember the wise words of a great poet:

O wind, if winter comes, Can spring be far behind?
                                                Percy Bysshe Shelley

And here is the promised recipe for Cheese Rolls, famous in the South Island of New Zealand:
Cheese rolls = comfort food

250grams grated tasty cheese
1 onion finely chopped
200 mls evaporated milk
1/2 a packet of onion soup powder
1/2 a loaf of sandwich bread

Put everything except the bread into a saucepan and melt gently, stirring frequently, over a low heat.  Once thoroughly melted remove from the heat and allow to cool down a bit before spreading generously onto slices of bread.  Roll the bread up and grill the rolls in the oven, turning frequently until all nicely browned.  I make up a batch of these and freeze them before grilling so I  have a ready supply of comforting snacks on hand to just pop under the grill when needed.