Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Listen to Aunty Tiffany!

Its cold out there! There are record snow falls and record low temperatures all across Europe. And still, people do not know how to dress for the weather.

I grew up in a sunny corner of the Gold Coast, Australia. We lived by the beach. When it was cold, we put on a jumper. A jumper is what you call a jersey. If it was still cold, we’d swap our thongs and sandals for sneakers or closed toe shoes and wear socks.  

When I was a young adult, I moved to Norway. That year it was the coldest winter since 1955. It was -25 day after day, and I had no idea how to get myself warm.

You may say I’m a slow learner, but it took me a good two years before I understood that a jumper and sneakers were not going to keep me warm in the winter.

There is one phrase I learnt in Norway that has been helpful ever since. ‘There is no bad weather, there is just bad clothing’. And I’m here to share my secrets with you.

First of all, you must wear warm underwear. Girls, forget those skimpy little things that show the flabby part of your bottom, you need to keep your tush warm and rosy, not pinched and blotchy from the cold.

Then, you must wear wool, silk or an equivalent material that breathes, closest to your skin.  That is singlets, t-shirts, stockings, long johns, or long underpants under your normal clothes. That is your first important layer.

After you put your winter clothes on, then you need to be sure you have a scarf, gloves and a hat. Don’t be afraid to mess that hair. You’ll have plenty of time in the spring to let your hair out.  Cover your ears!!

The cold air creeps into the parts of your body that are exposed to the elements, so it’s important to keep as much of your body covered by warm clothing as possible. And remember, if you begin to sweat then remove layers of clothing. Sweating in cold weather seems to be an instant recipe for influenza.

Ok! Enough of the lecture! But, I’ll be watching from my window, making sure you’re all wearing sensible clothing this winter! Signing off this time as Aunty Tiffany.

Originally published in the Revista del Valles