Turn back – it’s freezing!

THIS is ridiculous. I’ve read books about the Tropics. They steam. The people who live in them wear sarongs and sweat a lot. The have lotus blossoms stuck behind their ears.

Well Townsville is in the Tropics. I looked on a map. It’s 600km inside the official tropical boundary (which is at Rockhampton, by the way).

Why, then, am I bloody freezing?

I was born in country where ice can form on the inside of the windows; where people wear overcoats and the only thing they get stuck behind their ears is icicles, but I don’t remember feeling this cold.

People my age retire up here for the climate.

I have a message for them – turn back!

I do not mean to be churlish. Most of the time I love the climate. But most of the time I don’t have fingers that you could snap off without feeling a thing.

I met a 104-year-old lady once who reckoned the secret of her long life was never washing in anything but cold water.

What? What! If I’d had to wash in cold water I’d have killed myself before I was 14. What would be the point in living to be 104 if you faced the daily prospect of washing in cold water?

Unless, of course, she was bending the truth, which was that she simply never washed. But she looked clean to me. Actually she looked like the kind of person who could bite through iron. Not the kind of old lady who would have great-grandchildren dandling on her knee.

And the most frightening part of being this cold is that summer is now officially on its way. We passed the shortest day on Tuesday (June 21) and the days are now getting longer, the sun is climbing higher in our skies – but my blood is grinding to a frozen halt in my veins.

My wife says there are advantages: like swimming in the ocean without having to worry about stingers.

Great Scott, if I swam in the ocean on mornings like this the shock would work faster and much more effectively than a box jellyfish the size of a whale!

She says there are advantages in cold weather because you can always wear more clothes, whereas in hot weather there’s only so much you can take off.

But you can’t cover everything! I could wear gloves, I suppose, but you know what they say about men who wear gloves…

And what about my nose? Why hasn’t someone invented an elegant and inconspicuous nose cosy that I can wear in bed — or anywhere else for that matter — without looking like a total dingbat?

Indeed, what kind of ineffable Creator creates a creature that had a protuberance on the front of its body that, despite its limited size, can catapult one’s partner out of bed in a muscle-clenching spasm of sub-zero shock. And before this conversation deteriorates into smut, let me add very quickly that I’m talking about noses.

I don’t know… I’m thinking about moving further north, Cape York, or maybe even Borneo.

My wife says not to worry, one day I’ll be living where the heat is intense and eternal, and I won’t have to wait until I’m 104 to qualify.