High excitement in New Zealand over the last 24 hours: a polar blast has swept up from Antarctica, dumping snow on most of the country.  Some places, like Otago and Canterbury, are reasonably accustomed to snowy weather, but places like Wellington and the Manawatu (my home province) don’t tend to see a flake of snow for years on end.  So everybody is very happy, with kids and adults alike heading outside and making the most of it.  I don’t blame them – snow is great fun if you’re just clowning around in the garden, chucking it your loved ones.

Here’s a good shot of a snowy Wellington suburb:

Snow also fell in Masterton, where I went to school:

And here’s a snowy scene from the Manawatu:

There was even a confirmed sighting of snow flakes in Auckland’s CBD, for the first time since the 1930s.  But I still walked the dog on the beach in brilliant sunshine this afternoon (although it was pretty flipping cold and I wore several layers, and gloves and a woolly hat for the first time this winter).

Much as I enjoy looking at snow from a distance, I had enough of the white stuff during my last two UK winters and am very happy that we live in too temperate a climate for it to be snowy here. Apparently the coldest daytime temperature ever recorded in Auckland is a relatively balmy 7.8C, so I don’t think I’ll need to break out the salopettes any time soon.

Of course, the absence of snow hasn’t meant that our damp, horrible rented house was warm and cosy.  It was so chilly today that I even did the vacuuming in a bid to warm up a bit.  Roll on the house move!  We definitely intend to sort out the new place with decent insulation and central heating.

I did have a slight hot flush today when the coldest winter day brought a power bill in the post.  I’d heard dark mutterings about the cost electricity in New Zealand (my little sister’s household racked up something like $500 worth of power bill recently), so I opened the envelope with trembling fingers, remembering that: a) we hadn’t yet had a bill for the three months we’ve been in this house; b) I’m at home during the day; and c) I’m a big fan of our oil-filled radiator heater.  I even had visions of having to sell a kidney in order to settle our debt with the good people of Genesis Energy, so you can surely imagine my delight when the bill was a mere $438 for three months!  We can afford to keep feeding Tui for another few weeks – hurrah!

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