Today was the continuation of two and half days away with the family in Australia’s capital, Canberra. Last night, I spent two hours after my wife went to bed at 11pm researching the historical reaction to The Conformist (1970) as well as reading any articles in print about any re-evaluations of the film. I didn’t get time to write anything down. I just did a lot of reading, which included a fantastic, very detailed, article in The New Yorker by Pauline Kael about her response to the film.
Sunday morning it was time to pick up the kids from Granny and head up the mountain to a nice picnic spot with nephews and nieces and uncles and aunts. The plan was an outdoor barbeque. It was interrupted by snow.
In Australia, in the capital cities, snow is a non-existent or rare event. Canberra is about the one place in Australia where it could reasonably be expected – very, very occasionally. And if it does snow in Canberra it might be called snow but it is actually sleet and melts the instant it hits the ground.
The mountains around Canberra occasionally get snow in winter. But it’s one of those things you hear about. There’s been snow in the mountains overnight, but you’re never or rarely in the mountains to experience it firsthand.
The relatives who have lived in Canberra for the last ten years have never experienced real snow, my two girls have never even experienced sleet, and my wife and I haven’t experienced snow since our honeymoon in New York and Boston, almost ten years ago.
This was actual snow and it made 10 Australians, aged 4 to 75, giddy with excitement.