YOU’VE seen them still happily going about their daily labours in bone-chilling Goulburn winter winds, rain and sleet and seemingly impervious to the elements.
They’re shop window cleaners and car yard vehicle washers.
Men and women who make you shiver just to see them at work, and positively shudder when you realise they look dressed for summer even when the June wind chill says it feels like -6 c outside.
So how do they do it?
Rum fortification, perhaps?
Some form of masochism, or example of where there’s no sense there’s no feeling?
None of these, apparently.
They just don’t feel the cold like most other people.
Take Garry “Chopper” Reid, an amiable giant of a bloke who washes and polishes vehicles at Goulburn Wholesale Cars and Commercials dressed only in short-sleeved open-to-the-waist overalls and singlet, no matter the weather.
“I’ve always lived in Goulburn and I’ve never felt the cold,” he says.
“Dunno why - just don’t. And I never use warm water in my bucket. It’d soon go cold, anyway, so what’s the point?”
Is Big Chopper simply a prime example of a warm-blooded Aussie lad, then?
“Hmm . . .S’pose I am,” he admits.
“But, anyway, I just like working out in the fresh air and don’t ever notice if it’s cold - although heavy rain can be annoying.”
What about cleaning windows outside Auburn Street shops that have their interior central heating set on high? Husband and wife, Christian and Julie Leupin, have been Goulburn’s champion winter tag team at this game for nearly 20 years and laugh off suggestions they might ever cry “foul” in a wintry blast.
They, too, say they don’t notice how cold it is out on the street side of shop windows - although Christian does admit to using warm water. Boiling, even.
The Leupins have four kids, with the oldest now living in Christian’s native Basel. They bought a couple of Goulburn window cleaning runs after Christian gave up working in Australia as a mainframe computer technician for one of the Swiss pharmaceutical giants.
He says the secret to staying warm is always to wear thick warm socks below a flouro jacket and warm shirt.
And also coming from a warm house to start work at 7.30am. Coming from Switzerland has nothing do with it.
While these and other workers choose to brave the cold (how about those brickies working high up on the Target building in heavy winter gear for sheer determination?), there are some people in our community who have no choice about it.
They are the homeless and the rough sleepers, who would perish if it were not for organisations such as Vinnie’s, who take them in from freezing outdoor hang-outs at this time of year.
Allan Lieschke, welfare co-ordinator at Kennedy House, says most men who sleep out know to start heading north to warmer climes before the worst of the Southern Tablelands winter sets in.
“But some leave it too late, or can’t get going for some reason. If they stayed homeless for any length of time they’d die of hypothermia - even our caravan parks and camping grounds don’t let people sleep on the ground in winter.
“So we accommodate them for four to six weeks, or find them temporary housing. We have 36 men staying at Kennedy House at the moment - 40 per cent of them local blokes - and we can give them a feed and a hot shower and spare set of warm clothes to get them through.”