Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Unappreciated Glove (a South African Perspective)

The last week was very exciting as for the first time the snow formed a thin layer on the ground. It started snowing at around 22:00 and we went out to investigate and take some pictures.

The temperature stayed around 0°C the whole of the next day which meant that the snow did not melt. These pictures were taken at sunset the following day (around 15:30):

Unfortunately the temperatures are rising (all the snow melted) and next week will be "hot" (6°C maximum). It is strange to think of 6°C as warm, considering in South Africa most people take out their warmest clothes when the temperature drops below 15°C. This bring us to the point of appropriate clothing. We discovered that the numerous additional items of clothing (that take up to 10 minutes to apply) actually makes a big difference keeping you comfortable outside. This fact is well known by the Swedes who told us on arrival:

"Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder"
(there is no bad weather, only bad clothing)

In South Africa, scarves, gloves and woolen hats are mainly worn as fashion accessories. Alternatively South African children sometimes wear some of these items for up to 15 minutes each day during the first period of school for one week every second winter. A French colleague however suggested that Swedish children are born with gloves. We saw them performing task requiring extreme dexterity, such as texting on their mobile phones without ever removing their gloves. It is thus mysterious that every now and again you come across a forlorn glove laying in the street. Could it be that as the grow they "shed" their gloves...

Our perspective on gloves and other accessories have therefore changed dramatically. We now appreciate the value of these items, including gloves although we still struggle to perform menial tasks such as operating a zipper...

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