Put on socks and harden up, it's not that cold

Come on. It's not that cold.
Come on. It's not that cold.

"We are Queenslanders," then-premier Anna Bligh said last year as the floods claimed land and lives across the state.

"We're the people that they breed tough, north of the border. We're the ones that they knock down, and we get up again."

Yes, they do breed us tough up here. Except, it seems, when we get a little bit of cold and wet weather.

Then we all go to water.

Take, for example, our current so-called "cold spell". This has been caused by an incoming low pressure trough lying just off the coast, combining with a cool pool of air in the upper atmosphere and, seemingly, a cacophony of whingeing from shellshocked and shivering Queenslanders.

It's all everyone's talking about. My Facebook feed is full of friends, fearful that a few missing degrees will result in frostbite, gangrene and missing toes (here's a tip – you've got socks, so use them).

The #coldsnap hashtag has been a mainstay of my Twitter stream, as if it's a sign of the coming apocalypse instead of just, you know, winter.

Let's put this into a bit of perspective.

A quick call to Weatherzone reveals, so far this year, Brisbane has had 1312 hours of glorious sunshine.

Compare that with Sydney's 1199 and Melbourne's 1151, and you sun-lovers don't have too much to complain about, except all those skin checks you'll need.

Today, in Brisbane, there was a forecast maximum of 16 degrees. It's raining. And it's the middle of winter.

In Edinburgh, the land of my ancestors, they're expecting a top of 16 degrees and, you guessed it, rain. And it's the middle of summer.

There's some sunshine in Melbourne, they've topped out at 13 degrees.

For those of us of European stock, this is just a taste of our forebears' existence as they ran around the countryside wearing skirts, tossing telegraph poles, drinking whisky and eating haggis.

And we get to enjoy it as a brief reprieve from that tedious perfection that has been the staple of tourism campaigns for time eternal.

"'Beautiful one day, perfect the next"? How boring.

This is the kind of weather we normally have to travel for. Who goes to London for the art and culture? Sod that. We go there for the damp, cold drizzle and the chance to rub the Poms' face in how good we've got it back home.

Now, we're just giving those ex-pats who now call Brisbane home the opportunity to return serve and question our collective resilience in the face of a cool shower.

This weather should be rejoiced, if for no other reason, because it gives people like me the opportunity to actually wear a jacket in this sweatbox of a city and hide all those bodily sins that are so transparent in the summer.

If nature manifesting itself in a powerful flooding river can bring out the best in us, why is it a cool change and a bit of drizzle can bring out the worst?

Harden up, Brisbane.

Cameron Atfield is afternoon editor at brisbanetimes.com.au, whose aversion to heat and pasty Scottish complexion welcomes the winter reprieve.

This story Put on socks and harden up, it's not that cold first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.