It is winter in South East Queensland and it has been very cold.

A couple of weekends ago we witnessed sleet hitting the ground!

I don’t like winter here on the Darling Downs. We have thick white frosts and something called a wind chill factor that means it is colder than the temperature gauge tells us.

Also ice forms in my birdbaths making it quite treacherous for the birds as they skate across the ice looking for actual water.

My aversion to winter is understandable given that I was born and bred in balmy Brisbane where, even on the coldest winter day, you just popped a cardigan over your usual summer clothes.

So you won’t be surprised to hear that I am rather depressed.

“Feeling lower than a snake’s belly.” I informed my good friend Juanita.

This is an unusual situation for me as I am not prone to low moods.

I have always been very resilient.

In the past, when something bad happened to me, I would think, “Okay, that’s happened. I’ll accept it. This is my new baseline. Now I will just get on with life again.”

Obviously it is more than winter that is draining my spirits at the moment but I won’t complain.

Okay, I will.

I have a severely burnt finger that is restricting my every activity. I expect to lose my job by next March. My arthritis is torturing me. I miss our cattle which were sold off last month. I would like to have chooks but the foxes are rampant. Etc., etc. and so on.

Now Juanita had a good suggestion. She thought that I may be afflicted by Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) which is also known as seasonal depression. It is a depression that occurs each year at the same time, usually starting in autumn/winter and ending in spring, or early summer. It has something to do with a lack of sunlight upon one’s body. There is much more to it than that but, frankly, I am too depressed to extrapolate upon it today.

As Juanita has a medical background, I thought I would take her advice and get more sun.

So I decided to hobble up to our distant mailbox which gave me about 10 minutes in the sun.

Then I sat in a sunny spot at the rear of our house and unpicked the hem of my spouse’s trousers as they need shortening. Again more sun upon my less than sunny person.

But eventually I felt that I had been exposed to too much sun. After all, this is Queensland which is in a drought at the moment.

So, when I needed to take up needle and thread to complete the new hem, I decided that I would snuggle into my recliner rocker lounge chair and listen to music as I sewed.

What to choose? Fat Boy Slim, Dean Martin, Crowded House, Rammstein, John Lennon, Michael Buble, one or all of the three tenors, Tom Jones?

Then I spied “The Very Best of Peter Allen” CD.

“Yes! That will be good for a change.” I told myself.

I love Peter Allen and I wish he was still alive to entertain us.

I had seen him interviewed a number of times over the years and he had such a delightful happy personality with a quick wit and, well, he was downright hilarious.

In one interview I watched, he spoke about when he narrated the documentary “Deadly Australians”. It was about some of Australia’s most feared creatures on land and water. This 1983 video introduced us to the shark, the giant squid, the barracuda, sea snakes, black widow spiders and scorpions.

During the interview, Peter told of the moment where he was thigh deep in the waters of North Queensland uttering something like, “In these waters reside some of the most deadly creatures in Australia” and, of course, his immediate concern as he uttered these words was that perhaps he should not actually be standing in the “said” waters.

I popped the CD into the stereo and sat down and threaded the needle.

It started so well with song number one, “I go to Rio”, which is such a festive upbeat song. I was singing along and my toes were tapping.

Then came song number two. It was all about love gone wrong.

Song number three evoked the tragic figure of the talented Judy Garland struggling on stage.

Song number four was a tale of inappropriate and unrequited love.

Song number five was about a co-dependent relationship with a dodgy future.

Song number six was yet another shaky relationship with the threat “don’t push me over the borderline because anything can happen”.

Next came “Don’t cry out loud” with the advice “learn to hide your feelings” and a rather lame attempt to cheer the protagonist by telling her “remember you almost had it all”!

By the time “Tenterfield Saddler” got under way, a song about his grandfather and the suicide of Peter’s father, there were tears running down my cheeks.

Well, given my already S.A.D. condition, I had made a very bad choice. The bigger worry to me was that all these tragic songs were written or co-written by Peter.

Clearly I should have popped in the Rammstein CD. They have a driving beat with repetitive riffs and they thump and bash away on what sounds like an empty metal industrial rubbish bin. They “sing” the lyrics with a threatening growl.

But I do like their music.

And the best thing is that they sing in German and, as my knowledge of the language is minimal, I have no concerns about their lyrics causing me to cry.

But, back to Peter, I have decided to chase up a book about his very eventful life. However I won’t be reading it until the middle of summer.



Clifton, Australia

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