“It’s Cold” – our Arctic correspondent responds to “It’s Hot” by John Harms


Richard Marlow is an Aussie currently volunteering for a year as an education monitor in the North West Territories of Canada, high above the Arctic Circle. He’s also an Almanacker – and a Tigers man!


I grew up in the Riverina, suffering the hot summers in Junee clad in white-painted sandshoes (yes, that’s what they were called) and singlets that my mother insisted on me wearing even in the hot weather. And, yes, we had snow twice in April on my birthday. Then we moved to the nation’s capital to deal with the harsh, cold Canberra winters.


Someone asked me through my contact form on my blog, ‘Given my current situation above the Arctic Circle in the Canadian Western Arctic, how I deal with it?’


So have a read of what I wrote regarding dealing with the cold weather. It was written before we had a warm patch today. As I edit this piece, its only -16C (feels like -21 with light snow outside). This means it is unseasonably warm – I didn’t do up my parka on the way home today even though it’s snowing, and wore my beanie, not my fur hat …


Here’s how I replied:


Dealing with the cold had been interesting to say the least! The important thing here is to have layers, no matter what the time of the year it is, except for the height of summer. You need layers. So, when I get dressed for school, I have to put on so many layers: underwear first, then long johns and a woollen undershirt (which is long-sleeved), then on top of that a pair of shorts, then a pair of tracksuit bottoms. For the top, over my long- sleeved under shirt, I have a long-sleeve T-shirt with a Wests Tigers rugby league jersey over the top of that. That’s what I am wearing right now as I write this piece. This is before I even leave my little (well-heated) bedroom flat.


So then, when I have to go out, I have to put on my snow pants (which have a bib and braces) and wear my parka (which has a fur-lined hood). I put on a neck warmer which covers half my face, my fur hat made from muskrat fur which really warm (warmer than my Richmond beanie, sadly), put on my thick gloves (skidoo rated ) and then, last but not least, my leather insulated snow boots. Then I’m ready to walk outside – this morning it was minus 35 but feels like minus 47 with the wind chill!


So, as long as your wrapped up, it’s OK. This morning was very crisp with a little bit of wind. It’s funny when I go out without doing up my parka and feel the cold seep in – you soon zip it up! In fact, on the many Canberra school trips that I have been on as a teacher, I think I was colder. People here in the Arctic have the right gear to deal with the cold.  Where I am living, it is not that windy. If there’s wind, then you feel the cold. The other thing is that the snow is dry and crisp, not slushy like in most of Australia.


So there you go, John Harms. Would you rather be hot and sweaty in Australia or warm in the cold of your choice?


What would you choose?


Read “It’s Hot” by John Harms HERE



Richard Marlow Feb 2020 48 degrees below under the Northern Lights



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About Richard Marlow

a humble middle-years teacher in a “middle of the road” private school in Brisbane having being a pastor, a youth worker, a school chaplain, a bank johnnie – 3 different banks, worked in Jails, driven a cab and been in bands amongst other things.


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    I can’t imagine what it must be like to live and work in temperatures so cold! Too cold to have a kick to kick?

  2. Sadly during the heart of winter it would be too cold for a kick to kick – hard to control a drop punt in dry crunchy snow with snow boots on although i guess it has been done in the big time remember Manuka Oval last year when the Hawks played there. How many games in The AFL VFL have been played in snow would be a great question?
    I know in the NRL that the West Tigers famously played the Raiders back in the late 90’s at Bruce stadium
    I played Rugby in the snow as a high school player – once against West Belconnen and the other in Queanbeyan – never has a shower after the game felt so good

    – having said that before it snowed I got to umpire a baseball tournament in the mud and slush which was not exactly ideal conditions for playing ball – but they love their ball up here and I got to proudly wear my Blue Jays gear go Jays !!!

  3. Must be a pain when you need to go to the loo!! All those layers.

  4. As a 12-month of the year shorts-wearing man, I could not think of anything worse than togging up in all that gear.
    Thanks, Richard. I’m enjoying your posts.

  5. Richard, give me the heat any time. Although I don’t mind the cold for a change – but only a change. The six week Brisbane winter (a few cold mornings and some westerlies) is about right. Thanks for the piece.

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