Years ago - and I mean yeeeaaarrs ago - I worked in a retail fashion store. Each season, new styles and colours would come into the store and we oohed and aahed over the new stock.
One winter we received a batch of stock in a new shade - winter-white.
Now, I've never been a winter person. Well, that's a bit of an understatement. I hate winter! I really do.
But when I looked at this lovely winter-white I suddenly saw beauty in the cold season.
Previously I'd watched miserably as the leaves on the trees turned bronze and fell. I'd been depressed when I saw the shorts, sun-frocks and strappy sandals being replaced in shop windows by jumpers, scarves and boots.
My winter wardrobe consisted of jeans and skivvies and I spent my free time before an open fire with a good book. Everytime I stepped outside I felt my body shrivel into some freeze-dried husk while examining the fruit trees in our garden for early signs of spring buds.
But having discovered winter-white I was transported to seamless snow-covered landscapes, fir trees glittering with frozen needles and horse-drawn sleighs. Alright, I'm Australian, but I'm also hopelessly, romantically European - in my heart and my blood.
After years of discussions that started with, "We should..." my husband Stuart and I spent last Christmas in Germany. We'd been Bing Crosby-ing over a White Christmas for some time so we finally did it.
It was beautiful, magical and entirely different from Christmas at home, and I can tell you that European winters don't feel all that cold while you're drinking gluhwien in the snow!
Back home, I'm braver than I usually give myself credit for - I will actually get up at stupid o'clock on icy, foggy mornings and go for a run; strangely, I enjoy running in the cold.
But afterwards I cruise up Main St and call in at One Ate Tea for a nice hot coffee and bit of a gossip. Then I wander on home for a steamy hot shower. I put on a windcheater and the daggy knitted pants I bought in Germany last year, turn on the heater in my office and get to work.
I still love winter-white and the crystalline beauty it calls to mind. And I also love being a writer in winter tucked up snug and warm in my home-office with my cats and maybe a cup of cocoa.
Having said all that, right now I'm looking out my office window at clear blue skies; I know that the air out there is frigid and crisp. Yet the jasmine crawling over the fence has tiny little buds just forming. Dew damp and trembling, they're anticipating the coming spring - as am I. Bring it on, I cheer!
In the meantime, there is a poetic loveliness in winter - just rug up, stay warm, and enjoy our changing seasons!
Bye the way, if you're ever in Europe at Christmas - get yourself a Gluhwein! This is me in Fussen, Germany with a mug of the spicy local brew!
If you're spending your winter putting the final touches to a manuscript, you might want to check out Allen and Unwin's Friday Pitch. They accept email submissions every Friday but you'll need to follow the submission guidelines on the site. Good luck!