Mid-winter has passed, and before you know it we will be in spring. While sometimes it is difficult to appreciate winter with the shortened days and freezing mornings – it is a season that brings all manner of opportunities, if you are willing to embrace or look for them.
We’ve been thinking about winter fun lately as we’ve seen families and children get out and about in Ashburton. It’s been great to see folks inspired to rug up and enjoy some of Ashburton’s excellent facilities and experiences.
In the spirit of winter fun, this week we are highlighting some of the fun experiences that only winter can bring.
Outside you can take in all manner of sports. While once rugby was only played in winter, it now seems to be played all year round. Of course, skiing is very popular and important to the economy of our district.
In Ashburton itself, people once skated on the domain pond – a sure sign that winters aren’t as cold as they used to be, as although the pond still freezes I wouldn’t trust the ice to hold so many skaters today.
Although skaters may be absent in the Domain, there still are people who enjoy strolling its leafy lined paths to take in the stark beauty of winter. Many people enjoy watching the ducks that gather in number for safety during the hunting season.
There is nothing as satisfying as taking a walk on a brisk winter’s day feeling toasty warm with the right clothing and footwear. While our ancestors relied on wool and weight to keep them feeling snug, today’s clothes are lightweight – comprised of such materials as merino, possum fur and technologically advanced synthetics.
If winters temperatures are too much to bear there is still much to do. Staying inside can allow people to take on those projects they haven’t had time to do during the long, hot days of summer, such as cleaning out the back room or working on the family tree, scrapbooking or organising their treasures.
Gardeners who, for the rest of year, toil outside can reduce the amount of time spent pruning and tidying and relax, a little.
They may plan their projects for the warmer months and even take time out and read a book. The Library is an ideal place to visit if the walls in your house are becoming too intense, or the children are bored.
Its very easy to let yourself go during winter. The weather just makes it far too enjoyable to curl up by the fire or heat pump and read a book, or just blob out in front of the television or computer. The extra energy to keep warm just cries out for snacks which in no time can develop into a rather rotund version of your former summer self.
Perhaps, if taking long walks through the Domain isn’t really your thing you could make use of the many indoor sporting activities available to ensure you don’t become a winter tubby. While our excellent EA Networks Centre reflects the health and fitness interest of recent years, people were always keen to keep fit. Most of us can recall PE (Physical education) or drill at school where we jumped and ran and did all sorts of activities to keep us alert and active. Being indoors today means we can be active all year long, and swim should we feel inclined.
With all these things we can do it seems unfair to dislike winter as intensely as some people seem to do. With warm clothes for outside and warm places to indulge inside hobbies or activities it is almost a shame winter has only a few months left. There is much to enjoy about winter and Ashburton, with its facilities and natural environment, is as good as any to appreciate and embrace it.
By Kathleen Stringer
1 skating in the Domain, 1895.
2 A man who . had lots of books to read was bookseller HM Jones. Seen here, by an unlit fire, in his Short Street home.
3 Feeding ducks and swans in the Domain
4 Keeping fit has always been important to some people. Here are the ‘Ashburton Keep Fit Girls’ of 1938.
5 Who wouldn’t look forward to winter with an ensemble as cute and warm as this?
6 Reading is the perfect activity to keep children occupied, and educated in any, season. Here children at Hampstead School enjoy their school library.