The winter solstice - the shortest day of the year - is upon us in the northern hemisphere. Here in Steamboat the day is only moderately short at 9 hours 7 minutes of sunshine (from sunrise at 7.28 am to sunset at 4.45 pm) compared to some places like Helsinki which only received 5 hours and 50 minutes today (when I was living in Singapore I discovered through a colleague who is married to a Finnish woman that there are about a thousand Finns living there. Can you guess why?)
Back in Australia it's the summer solstice. Christmas is in the middle of the summer holidays so things really slow down for three or four weeks. Sport dominates the headlines (especially the Sydney to Hobart yacht race and the Boxing Day Test), and the beach is the place to be. Here the Christmas / New Year break is over just as you're beginning to relax. Much as I like a White Christmas, I've decided I really do miss that slower pace for a few weeks when no one really expects anyone to get things done.