AFTER some spectacular autumn days in April, it's time for Bathurst to take its medicine.
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Maximums in the early teens are predicted for Thursday, Friday and Saturday (and frosts on Friday and Saturday) as June starts to loom and, with it, the beginning of winter.
This is where hardened Bathurstians start to make their mental preparations for the tough months ahead: the months of midday fogs and skeletal trees, visible breath and mornings where it takes an effort of will to peel back the blanket and get out of bed.
They are the months when the electricity bill fattens and the tracksuit pants go on high rotation; when you need an extra layer of clothing just to fulfil your household obligation on bin night.
Locals know all this. Thanks to the pandemic-fuelled fleeing of Sydney, however, we might have a number of newcomers who don't quite know what they're in for.
To them, we say: June, July and August will test you if you've come from the milder parts of the metropolitan basin, but you'll find winter in Bathurst does come with some unexpected rewards.
Being deprived of sun for days on end will make you pathetically grateful when it does appear. It's an important lesson: you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.
Cold, forbidding weekends will provide an opportunity to spend days indoors without feeling the slightest guilt that there is something more productive that you could be doing.
And then there is the Bathurst Winter Festival, a terrific addition to the calendar in recent years that takes the landscape of the centre of the city and sprinkles a little bit of magic over it.
At the time of year when you're most inclined to hurry straight home from work, the festival provides a reason to linger: to see the skaters zooming about on the ice rink in Russell Street or the lights strung up in the trees.
Apart from all that, one of the best features of the Central Tablelands winter is that it will make you see spring in a new way.
Take note of the number of families kicking a ball around or having something to eat in the sun in Machattie Park on the first warm weekend in September. Take note of the number of kids clambering about in the Kings Parade trees.
Spring isn't just the flip of a calendar in Bathurst, but a reward. And to get to that reward, you have to go through winter.
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