Any Aussie who listens to Macca on ABC radio on a sunday morning, will know the song, ‘The monkeys sing soprano at Stanthorpe in July. Well, at the best of times I am a cold fish, and here in Putian I am being tested somewhat. These are the words:
You can take my word for it, and hang me if I lie,
But the brass monkeys sing soprano at Stanthorpe in July.
Now people tell you Queensland is a place of heat and dust,
That ain’t at all exactly true, believe me if you must,
‘Cos it snows at Wallangarra and up past Girraween,
And if you go there in the wintertime you’ll feel just what I mean.
The wind comes up from New South Wales, it ain’t exactly nice,
Because it brings upon its blast big mobs of snow and ice.
You’ll shiver all the flamin’ night and all the chilly day
Despite your thermal underwear.
But the monkeys sing soprano at Stanthorpe in July.
Putian is akin to Stanthorpe. It doesn’t snow here in Putian, but when the weather is bad all around, as it is now, the wind is somewhat keen, to put it mildly. Beijing, a long way north is minus 15. Xin Jiang region is minus 40 odd. That is a long long way from here, but even so, the winds tell us that they have come from that region. Hence, I am cold.
Living on the Gold Coast, or any part of Queensland, it is warm. Even our winters are warm, wearing T shirts in the day, and in the cold, yes, long fleecy pants at night. But here in the day, we hit around 10 degrees, maybe up to 15 or so, and a goodly amount of fresh air makes its way through fully or partly opened windows. Those temperatures are a Queensland night in the winter, when we are snuggled up in bed with our hotties and feather doona’s all wrapped around us.
Therefore, to keep warm I am resorting to my bed. I have sufficient bedding, and my bed is quite warm and cosy once I get in and get warmed up. But so far I have needed an extra blanket, and I wear my thick woolly socks and take three hotties with me until I warm up.
The yellow hottie is an electric one, I have never seen them at home but here they are used all the time. You slide the round blue bit to reveal a three in plug and there is a lead that you pug into the power. It takes about 15 minutes to boil whatever the liquid is that is inside. They stay hot for hours.
I was sitting at my little laptop last night, sporting many layers of clothes and a thick woolly scarf wrapped round my neck and shoulders when Alex pops his head in. ‘Oh, you are cold!’ he says, a little surprised. ‘How will you get on in Suzhou?’
He knows Suzhou(said Soo joe) is much much colder than here, and next week I am off to Suzhou for a few days, so he has no idea how I will manage in a house where the temperature is an average zero or minus. With a tiny touch of irony, I said, ‘They will have the heaters going. It will be warm in their house.’ I know, in the winter they keep it around the 20 to 24 degree mark. ‘Oh,’ he says, ‘it’s not healthy to use the heating, the air is not fresh.’ You gotta love it!
I know it’s really hot back home at the moment, I Skype Peter most nights, but a bit of heat and humidity would be welcome relief just now.