Tag Archives: snow

Snow in Giardino Aiuola Balbo, Turin

Notes from my extremely glamorous life: Let it snow

It has been an extremely, ridiculously mild winter here this year, with blue skies and daytime temperatures often getting into the teens. (Celcius, I mean. That’s how mild it is.) The other day, I got gelato on my way home from work and ate it standing in the sun, thinking, Is this really February?

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I also sent this picture to various friends, saying, “I’m eating gelato, what did you achieve today?” because I am a terrible person.

So I was as taken aback as everyone else in Turin when I woke up on Saturday morning and saw white fluffy flakes falling, the first snow in the city this winter.

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I’m not normally much of a fan of snow. It’s cold, it’s wet, and if you think Perth drivers are useless in the rain you should see how people drive in the snow. But I needed to go to the pharmacy anyway, so I pulled on a woolly hat and my warm coat and took a walk through the city centre.

When it’s a late winter Saturday one-off, it’s harder to be cynical about snow. The buildings and statues look statelier. The dusting of white brings out the form of the bare trees. The snow on the ground makes everything look brighter even when it’s overcast. And on a Saturday morning, I wasn’t the only one enjoying the snow — the parks had plenty of delighted dogs running around wondering what had happened to make the ground so much fun all of a sudden.

As I walked, the clouds lowered and the snow fell harder and I brushed the snow off my arms as I went. By the time I got to the river Po almost the whole scene was grey and white.

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And then by lunch time it had turned to rain, and by evening you wouldn’t know that it had snowed at all.

Snow in Giardini Reali, Turin

Getting the hang of winter.

Way back in October I wrote about autumn here in Torino, so I think a winter post is surely due by now. And I’ve had my laptop open half the afternoon, thinking, come on, you can talk about winter! it’s not that hard! And I’ve made cups of tea, I’ve fetched my doona to wrap around me on the sofa, I’ve kicked the doona off and puttered around the living room, and I haven’t written a word about winter, because I can’t pin down what I think of it.

The light is very pretty but there’s not enough of it, is I think how I would summarize.

Magic light this afternoon.

Magic light this afternoon. The sun was soon behind a building and my living room went dark.

Actually, we’ve had a decent number of clear sunny days in the past few weeks, days that remind me of Perth winters where you can walk on the beach in the sunshine and even push your sleeves up if the wind isn’t strong.

Except that here, even the sunny days are short, and the overcast days are shorter. I love that in late December we get magic afternoon light by 2pm, I just wish we didn’t get nightfall by 5pm.

Because the problem I haven’t solved yet is how to get myself to go out and do things once it does get cold and dark, which means that 7pm has found me with my doona on the sofa more often than I’d like. Do I go straight from work so I can’t stop at the sofa? Make more effort to organize social events I can’t skip? I did get myself out the door and power-walking down Corso Regina the other night after I’d read something that made me too cross to stay sitting down, but I’m not sure the exercise gains are enough to counter the emotional cost of “read poorly-argued things you disagree with” as a strategy.

But then — thinking out loud here — do I want to go out more? Maybe it’s wise to have a season where I’m not active, where I can’t pretend that I’m a Busy Important Person who is busy Doing Important Things, where I recognize that no matter how much I do in my life my achievements aren’t going to last very long. On an overcast day, everything seems grey and same-y, until I start to look closely at what’s in front of me, to see shape and pattern and texture and muted colour differences. Maybe I need to take winter as a reminder to pay attention to the quieter parts of my life.

So I’m not sure yet what I think about winter, but I’m starting to think it has something to teach me.

Oh yeah, and snow. Still don't quite have the hang of living with that.

Oh yeah, and snow. Still don’t quite have the hang of living with that, even when it’s barely there.

Snow in Giardini Reali

More notes from my extremely glamorous life.

Spent a good chunk of the week moping around with a mild flu — I’m much better now — so  this week’s post won’t exactly be a tale of great adventure. Even my fever dreams are boring: I was convinced at one point that the way I lay in bed had to be somehow “like a bowl of pasta” and I still don’t know what that was supposed to mean. Answers on a postcard.

  • It snowed here on Thursday night:
    Ooh pretty.

    Ooh pretty.

    Actually, it barely snowed at all and Friday turned out to be quite a warm sunny day, but I only realized this a fair while after I’d looked out my window in the morning, said, “woah, snow!” and put on warm clothes. Which were far too warm for my office which gets strong afternoon sun. Oops.

  • Inspired by “Texts from the Dashwoods“, I re-read Sense and Sensibility. I think Sense and Sensibility is actually my favourite Jane Austen novel, partly because it’s the only one in which I really want the main couple to get together. Probably because in the others I get a strong vibe of “oh well I have to marry someone and this guy isn’t actively terrible unlike every other man in my social circle” from the heroines. As noted previously, I’m not very romantic.
  • Further evidence of unromanticism: Even though I wanted Edward and Elinor to get together, I’d also have been satisfied with them each marrying other people due to circumstances but still enjoying a lifelong friendship where “we used to fancy each other” was in the past. Or just, in general, a novel — any era and genre — that features a friendship between a man and a woman without romance being on the agenda. Any suggestions? (Besides Elinor & Colonel Brandon in S&S, obviously. But something along those lines.)
  • I also re-watched The Castle which is a delightful movie. Recap for UnAustralians: it’s a comedy about a family who nearly have their home seized under compulsory acquisition, which sounds like an odd topic for a comedy — ok, it is an odd topic for a comedy — but it works. Mostly because the dialogue is perfect: (images stolen from Buzzfeed)
    anigif_enhanced-25547-1390979979-1anigif_original-grid-image-13476-1390980030-3anigif_enhanced-32068-1390980063-9anigif_original-grid-image-20158-1390980105-9It’s nearly 20 years old, as you might guess from the images above… but I think it holds up.

So now I’m off to see if my bedsheets are dry yet — laundry in winter is no fun. Maybe next week I’ll do something less boring?

Notes from a week in the mountains

  • Probably it’s for the best that the american lady on the bus through the Mont Blanc tunnel who was loudly discussing how she finds australian accents “sooooo sexy” didn’t hear me turn to my colleague sitting next to me and dramatically sigh “why does no-one take us seriously?”
  • Until now, when people said they quite like snow, I always thought they were a bit funny in the head. It’s wet! It’s cold! There’s mud everywhere! But having finally seen thick, fluffy, pretty snow, I start to understand:

    No slush in sight!

    No slush in sight!

  • Skiing: ahahahahahahaha. Not my forte at all. As predicted, hilarious. Picture a 76-year-old french winter-ski-instructor-summer-mountain-guide who’s just come off his cigarette break yelling “snowplow! wider!” and me yelling “I’m so sorry!” as I nearly mow down a row of small children who at age 4 are better skiers than me. Speaking of which, the small children body count from a 2 hour ski lesson: 1 collision, 1 accidentally closing the chairlift barrier onto a kid’s leg.
  • Apparently, there is a St Bernard dog museum near Les Houches, which we didn’t get a chance to see. This must be rectified. (A museum about dogs!)