I have to say, the English have made talking about the weather a sheer artform. Nay, not talking … moaning.
Over the past few weeks, as the northern hemisphere stretches out on it’s way to a 23° 26’ axis greeting the December solstice (or Winter Solstice as the northern hemisphere like to call it forgetting that it’s a summer solstice in other parts of the world – and no, I am not bitter), Londoners are suddenly alarmed and have noticed a chill in the air. “Oh, it’s so cold,” they remark. Well of course it’s &*(%$ing cold! It is December after all.
I am led to wonder if they happened to neglect the calendars on there walls and phones and outlooks and shiny new ipods. Suddenly marking the passage of time and season has escaped them all, and they have woken to find winter has stolen their summer days away from what they thought was only yesterday. In fact, those were actually stolen a few months ago, but it’s only now that they seem to have noticed that they have fallen off the radar. It all seems to have caught them off guard and it’s come as a complete surprise.
Even when it’s sunny, Londoners like to complain about the weather. I noticed that there was not a cloud in the sky some mornings ago, a lovely winter’s day. A fine day for a scarf and a jacket and a stroll in the crisp air? Oh no. It’s too bitterly cold. Were they expecting it to be balmy and to where thongs and shorts to work in December? In fact, have they EVER worn thongs and shorts to work in December?
And then today, it finally happened for me. It snowed. Now, I know for some this is an occurence that is somewhat familiar, something you could, say, set a calendar by. But for an Australian living in Melbourne for the past 9 years, each of those years dominated by drought, and living on stage 3 water restrictions … you can imagine my joy at seeing little white flakes of winter falling from the sky. Unfortunately it didn’t get a chance to settle on the street and in the trees, but still, it was a sight that is rare to my eyes.
I walked the streets letting the flakes drift into my hair and land on my face and tongue. I relished these little bits of ice being blown all around me. This is the stuff of the mythical “White Christmas” that we learn about in school, as we spray toxic faux snow on our Christmas trees in thirtyfive degrees Celcius heat during Australian yule tide. Like a child in a sweets store i was bedazzled by it all unashamedly. Yes, they could all teel I was a tourist. Some of the English even partook in my naive pleasure.
Most on the other hand, who have found winter to be a complete surprise have moaned that it wouldn’t last, and just wait until it gets slushy and muddy. Ahh … there will always be an England.
I’ve posted photos of my snow excitement here.