Warm and cosy, relaxing and reviving is the best way to enjoy this chilly season, writes VINAYA RAI
It is that time of the year when the cold wind blows and the ground is covered with frost, and we go ‘brrrr’ and ‘grrrr’. We keep grumbling about the cold and rain and wind. I don’t like the cold much either, but it is also a cosy time, isn’t it?
A time for warm cuddles and movie nights, soups and roasts, and baking days. A time to stretch our legs in front of the fireplace and spend a lazy evening listening to the rain and wind outside. It is a time for relaxation and rejuvenation. Not just for nature, but for us as well, I think.
I love that we can all get under a large quilt on the lounge and watch movies. Even my 20-year-old will snuggle up with his little sisters and watch a Hindi movie. I hear them whispering under the doona, adding their own bits to “What did he say?” or “Why did she do that?”. And Hindi movies are perfect for winter, don’t you think? Intrigue and masala! We watched Don 2 recently and the kids were fascinated by its twists and turns. And then we sat under the doona after the movie ended, talking about the original Don, the intrigues of smuggling and gangs in the India of the 60s and 70s. Now I think we will watch Jewel Thief, Deewar and movies of that era…educational, I call it!
As I try to get through the cooking while there is still some light, I hear the swoosh of the oven door opening. “Mmmm..!” goes my daughter. We love oven-baked food in winter. Even if it is just the normal vegie pasta that we always have, simply sprinkling it with cheese and sticking it in the oven seems to make it taste and smell just wonderful. And the heat from the oven or grill warms up the room so nicely too. So roasts and pies it is these days, and the kids are happy to bake cakes and muffins for dessert and snacks. A nice, warm family-bonding time? Definitely!
After reading all those English novels from Enid Blyton onwards, Adelaide’s winter was the first time that I could bake those kinds of dishes and eat them in front of an open fire. A dream come true! In our first home in Adelaide we had a proper fireplace and a walnut tree in the garden. Roasted walnuts are much better than roasted chestnuts, believe me! Gazing into the crackling flames of a log fire as you tell stories to your little ones, you can hear your imagination whispering to you, making those stories grow longer and those short winter evenings stretch lovingly.
In the morning, in our ugg boots and dressing gowns, we look out at the garden. The grass seems to have grown overnight and is heavy with dew. Sometimes nearly grey with frost. As I look at our banana plant, I know for the first time what burning cold means. The poor little thing looks like it has literally been burnt by fire! The large fig tree is bare of leaves. It seems to know that it does not need to provide shade at this time, and lets the sunlight stream in through its branches into the house. Oranges and mandarins are our happy fruit this season, and keep the common cold at bay.
Adelaide winters can be very wet, but the sun when it is out can be stingingly warm. Love those balmy days! Winter makes me appreciate that sunshine even more. And as I go inside out of a cold wind, I love the warmth of my home that much more. The kids will stay in, it seems to whisper to me, and all of you will be cosy within. I count my blessings and whisper my thanks for these loving winter evenings.