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10 Winter Myths Busted

As I shiver through the midst of my first 'real' winter I revisit some winter wives tales.

For most of my life, I have lived in a climate where if the day time temperature dropped below 15C it'd make the news as one of the 'coldest days in recorded history'. A subtropical utopia where you don't own thermal underwear, gloves or parkas and there there is no such thing as 'central heating'.

Needless to say, winter in Scotland - as my first ever proper cold winter - has been difficult. As temperatures fell below Australian freezing (20C/68F) I've learned the hard way that believing in the myths of winter can be treacherous.

The most dangerous thing that ever happened to This Little Aussie in the heat was that I slid off a sweaty vinyl seat when the bus took a corner too fast. In the land of the cold, life is an everyday battle of scarf strangulations and brain freeze.

So after a recent Euro cold snap turned Greek beaches into ski resorts and Australians baked in more pleasant 40C+ temperatures I thought I'd bust open some of those winter myths.

snowflake mittens (image CC0 maxpixel)

1. You will acclimatise

Forget it. It won't happen. If, like me, you've spent decades in the tropics or subtropics you're body can't handle anything below 20C (68F). After flying out of a relatively 'balmy' 4 degree day in Montreal after Canada's coldest autumn on record, I swore I'd never complain about the cold again. That lasted about 20 minutes into the flight when I had to ask for a second blanket because the air-con was too cold.

2. It's cosier together.

No one will cuddle up to you if you have the body temp of an icicle. To survive the night you need to wear at a minimum: thick fluffy socks, tracksuit pants, thermal top, a second top, beanie and a scarf. Sadly, all that's a passion killer too.

3. Just add another layer

Some people say it's easier to warm up than cool down. After all, there are only so many layers you can take off before you are arrested. But it's a myth that 3 simple layers of thermals, wool and down keeps you warm. You need more, many more. And it's impossible to bend your elbow wearing 8 layers of clothes.

4. Wearing a scarf is easy

If you didn't learn the Art of Scarf as a child those things can be lethal. I nearly strangled myself trying to take one off in an Edinburgh coffee shop. And that soooo doesn't look cool. Likewise, if you grew up in a climate where you never had to pull a jacket over more than one jumper, don't try it for the first time in public.

girl with mittens (image CC0 pixabay)

5. Houses are heated over here.

Nope. Contrary to what they say, no, houses aren't heated. Yes, they do have heating but folk are too stingy to turn it on and if it's broke the landlord wont fix it. At least in Australia, where there is no central heating, you could still go out and stand in the sun to warm up. Who's Aussie mum, didn't say that?

6. Drinking Alcohol doesn't help with the cold.

When it's this cold, you need something to get you through it. Cake also helps.

7. You wont break your ankle on the ice.

There is no shoe grip short of crampons that stops you slipping on ice. And if you've never seen ice on the ground you won't "know it when you see it."

8. Snowflakes look like paper cutouts

For the first time I stood in a snow shower (Is that even what it's called?) I expected giant flakes like paper cutouts to flutter down around me. Turns out, it's just like bits of shaved ice. And it melts when you bring it inside.

9. There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.

This is my personal favourite. Can I lie on the beach in a bikini? No. That's because the weather is shite. And as the Arctic wind howls over the North Sea, driving sleet and the sand turns to ice, no amount of clothing is going to convince me a) I'm warm b) It's nice out.

10. You can look stylish in a Puffy Jacket.

It was September and I was cold but I stood in the outdoor outfitters touching one of those puffy jackets. Two thoughts ran through my head. Three actually. The first I even spoke aloud to the shop assistant.

A. Does it actually get so cold a person has to wear one of these?

B. Do I want to be in a place it actually gets so cold I have to wear one of these?

C. Is there one that doesn't make me look like some kind of human marshmellow?

The answer to A is F*%$ Yes. The answer to C is No. The jury is still out on B.

Girl in snow woods (image CC0 maxpixel)




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