Sunday, 4 December 2016

Pros and Cons of Winter

Last season, I posted my “Why I Dislike Autumn” blog. I wasn’t very complimentary about it, shall we say. Winter, which I like a good bit better, has some pluses and minuses for me. So, lets run down my pros and cons of Winter!

Christmas: I love Christmas! The food, the decorations, the presents! I’m still like a little kid on Christmas Day. I wake up super early to open my stocking. Still leave out the mince pie and sherry for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer. Get excited to open my presents. I like both the giving and receiving of presents. I like to put a lot of thought into what presents I get other people, and I love to see them react when they open them. And I love the mystery of what presents are there under the tree, too. And feeling the wrapper to try and guess what they are. You know, I have received some bad Christmas presents before, but the majority of presents I tend to get are useful.

Pancake Day: The other big eating holiday of this season, but one that’s all the way in February, so it’s still somewhat in the distance. The only way to make pancakes on this day is in the traditional English way. Not those American interlopers. I won’t hear a word about how they’re “just” crepes, either. English pancakes are traditionally served with lemon and sugar, and French crepes are usually thinner. Also, crepe is the French word for pancake, so you’re kind of proving your own point. Also, you have to attempt to toss at least one pancake on this day. It’s the rule.

New Year: A fresh start, and a new beginning. A chance to put all the bad from the old year behind you, and hope the next year will be better. It feels like a chance to change your life. I know most resolutions are abandoned in a few days, but the illusion is there. This year especially, I’m quite looking forward to seeing the back of.

Days Get Longer: Longest Day passes in late December, and by February there’s a significant change in the length of the days. It is seriously nice not to have to walk home in the dark at four o’clock.

Curling up in your Duvet: especially on a cold night, while the wind and raid hits your window, and with a good book. It’s a shame we have an electric fire, so I can’t pull off that sitting by the fire and reading look.

Chance of Snow: I love snow! It’s so fun to play in, and there’s always that chance of a day off school/work because no-one can get in, and it gets large groups out of the house to have a snowball fight. Give me a walk in the snow, any day. Especially with a dog, they love the snow!

Chance of Snow: In England, it’s very rare. Where I am in the country, we’re going three years without a decent snowfall. I’ve never had the illusive White Christmas. Normally, snow only matters for a week a year. What happens is, it gets cold over the weekend and every weather report mentions chance of snow. No-one listens, because they’ve said this every weekend since November. So on Monday, we wake up to a decent covering of snow and its chaos. Trains will stop. Roads will be blocked back for miles. Schools will shut, some workplaces will close. Tuesday, the snow will freeze and there may be a fresh covering, but in most places will be able to deal with it. Schools will still be shut. Wednesday, it will be mostly melted into that brown slushy stuff and most places will reopen. Thursday, it will be mostly off the roads but still present in heaps on the sides. By Friday, we have a rainfall that washes away the rest of it. And that’s it, no more snow likely until next year.

Sometimes, it’s just too cold: There’s a very specific British sort of cold, I think, where it was very damp overnight and no amount of layering can prevent that chill from getting into your bones. The wind is northerly, and bites at your exposed face. It might not be below zero, but it feels colder than it actually is.

Family Visits: Over Christmas, there will be a lot of these. Growing up, we lived quite far away from family, so Christmas was just the three of us, and I loved it. It’s what I grew up used to. In fact, the whole concept of leaving the house on Christmas Day feels weird to me. Now, we live closer to my extended family, which leads to quite a few visits over the Christmas period. I am a total introvert, and after spending three hours around my family, I would be quite happy to go home and chill out quietly by myself. However, some days we can spend upwards of nine hours with them, and every nerve in my body is screaming for some peace. And the inevitable politics discussions come up at some point…

Clothes are Uncomfortable: Wool itches. There’s only so much layering you can do before you can’t even move your arms, so you walk around with this stiff padding and your arms can’t bend. You have to wear pants, rather than shorts/skirts. Or, even worse, the itchy leg prisons that are tights. Why can’t we all wear our onesies for the whole season?

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