As we have noted several times, in the northern hemisphere the solstices and equinoxes are considered to mark the changes of seasons, but here it is the first of the months involved. It’s fairly rainy, deciduous trees are bare, lawns and paddocks are soft if not soggy, on calm clear days you get frosts, days are short and sun is dimmer and there’s more interest in things that are done inside rather than out. This year is the first that Matariki, roughly the Maori lunar new year, is a public holiday which happens on Friday 24th, only 3 days after the winter solstice.