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10 Questions - Jenny Woodward, weather presenter, ABC News

Summer Reading

ABC weather presenter Jenny Woodward steps up to answer InQueensland Summer Reading’s 10 questions.

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Did anything good come out of 2020?

I know a lot of people are doing it really tough and potentially that won’t change for a while but for me there were lots of good things. I was really heartened to see communities pull together and look after the vulnerable and because nearly everyone followed the advice from the health authorities, Australia has had such a good outcome compared to other countries. In the middle of the year, ABC Radio co-ordinated a community quilt.

Each donated square was created to illustrate a personal reflection on the many ways of coping with lockdown. The contributions were so imaginative with the squares stitched, glued, knitted, crocheted or printed. The completed quilt, put together carefully by the Queensland Spinners Weavers and Fibre Artists group is a joyous work to behold and it is on display now at the State Library. And personally, our adult son came home from interstate to stay with us for about eight weeks in the initial lockdown.  It was wonderful to have him live with us again.  He was working remotely but we have plenty of opportunities to share stories, reminisce, walk the dog, and eat and drink together. It was a precious time.


What’s your favourite Christmas memory?

Christmas Day had a set routine when I grew up. We children, woke up ridiculously early to open gifts from Santa and played excitedly until the adults were up. We had a big breakfast of ham and eggs, then, we all had to help clean up the kitchen. As soon as that was done it was time to open the presents under the  Christmas tree.  Because there were  8 of us it took a while and no one could start until everyone was there.  We all sat around the tree and handed out our gifts we had selected for each other and we got gifts from Mum and Dad as well! We were all very lucky.  We would all ooh and ah at each other’s gifts then after, it was open house for friends and family for a couple of hours or we would go and visit friends of our parents. We had a late lunch with all the trimmings often with extended family. Sometimes there would be 30 people.  It was such an exciting day.

Are you a summer or a winter person?

I am like Goldilocks … a spring and autumn person. Not too hot and hot too cold.

How do you stay resilient during periods of change, like the year just gone?

You might be surprised to hear that I have always tried to embrace change and I do find it incredibly stimulating and energising. Even though my job has stayed this same, there has been enormous change within my role. For example, we have just moved into a new studio where everything is different and we have had to practise and learn new skills in the way we present the news and weather. Being cheerful helps me to cope and sometimes, I have to fake it till I make it. A teacher recently told me to exercise a strong mental rigour. Don’t allow negative thoughts or fears any brain space.  That was great advice.  I know I have a choice about whether I want to be happy or miserable, fearful or excited about the future and any changes that lie ahead.

Who were your heroes of 2020?

It has to be the emergency services workers. All of these people have worked in bruising, confronting situations throughout the year. Fire fighters, police and ambulance officers have all worked beyond exhaustion and the military too, helping in all of the critical crossroads the year has thrown up.

And it’s the same with doctors and nurses. I know a young woman who is a highly trained, extremely capable and resourceful ICU nurse in a busy Sydney hospital. She has worked much of the year in PPE until her face was raw and, at times, bled and she still gave extraordinary care to her patients. Elly, you are a marvel!

And I would like to give a big shout out to my colleagues in the media who have worked tirelessly and often put themselves in harm’s way to give outstanding coverage of the extraordinary events of the past year.


Your secret ambition?

I have a few.

I would love to have a bit part in Midsomer Murders – what a crazy hoot of a show. So many weird and convoluted deaths and it’s a guilty pleasure watching it. It would be so much fun to be in it, so long as I had a few lines. Perhaps “lady selling straw dollies at the inevitable festival”

I would also like to write a play. I have a few ideas, but have no idea of where to start! That would need some very serious work.

 Favourite end-of-year holiday spot?

At the beach … any weather … blue or grey. The sound of the waves, the smell of the air, the feel of sand underfoot. I love the beach.

What are you hoping for next year?

To see our son who lives in Sydney. He couldn’t come home for Christmas and talks on the phone are great but no substitute for the real eye to eye contact.

I am also hoping for a great year of presenting my one woman stage show, “Weathering Well” On top of the shows at the Powerhouse next April,  I am planning to take it on tour to regional Queensland. Let’s hope that comes about.

Hot Christmas dinner, or cold?

A mix of both. Seafood, ham and duck … then salads. We also have to have my husband’s famous roast potatoes.  No one – no one – makes them better. Then a hot plum pudding, or pavlova, with fresh summer fruits. We have a choice!

People/businesses to watch in 2021?

Have to say this is close to home. In recent years my husband, Douglas, has become a wine maker and despite the lack of any formal training he is very good at it. His label is called “Wedded to the Weather”. See what he did there? In the scheme of things, it’s just a tiny business but his natural wines made from niche grape varieties have become celebrated and I can’t wait to see what he makes in 2021.

Also, I am really keen to see what happens in the arts. They have had such a tough year and been so innovative in the ways in which they have tried to entertain us this year. I hope that in 2021, we will see a huge resurgence in the performing arts in front of live audiences.

And everyone should always watch the ABC, as it offers great journalism, fabulous content and variety that is constantly evolving. I have been watching it and played a small part in it over the years.  There’s something for everyone.

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