Thursday, 9 January 2014

Winter cold.

Looking out of the sitting room window this morning on to my garden, I see that I still have some flowers - schizostyllus, Christmas roses, roses both in my tubs by the door and on the climber on the wall, Winter jasmine, violas and a few bedraggled primroses.   I look at them and feast on the sight.

I think this is because I need an assurance that, however much the calendar tells me otherwise, Spring is not all that far away.

I look out of the bedroom window before I get up in the mornings at this time of year and search for signs that the mornings are getting just a little bit lighter - two and a half weeks since the shortest day so I should soon be able to detect something.   The same thing happens in the evenings, when the farmer is out giving the dogs their last walk of the day.   He has begun to comment, if the sky is clear, that the days are lengthening (he usually adds that old adage from round here 'as the days lengthen the storms strengthen').

Has it always been thus?   As a small child I lived in a house where central heating had not been heard of; we had electric light but that was all.   My mother cooked on an open range with a side oven, and when we went to bed we took a stone hot water bottle or an oven shelf wrapped in a bit of old sheeting.  To wash in the morning we had a jug and bowl in the bedroom on a washstand.   The jug was filled with warm water at night and if it had a film of ice on it in the morning then we would use the still slightly warm water from our hot water bottle for washing.

So I ask you - have we got soft?   Did Stone Age people long for the warmer, lighter days - or did they take Winter in their stride and just add another couple of layers of furs?   Do we just turn up the central heating rather than add another layer of clothing?

The farmer is very philosophical about the weather - his stock comment is "we 've just got to take what comes."   I shiver and freeze and chicken out of taking the dog for a walk if the weather is really bad.

Up here in the Yorkshire Dales we have got off lightly so far - no flooding, nowhere near tidal surges, as yet no snow (touch wood) and I feel for those folk who are living in flooded areas.

I for one will continue to search the garden for the first snowdrops.   They are beginning to push through their tiny blue/green spears and one or two are showing  white buds, their flowers as yet only hinted at.

I shall not buy any more Winter woollies - my eyes are firmly fixed on Spring.

20 comments:

John Gray said...

You forgot a bit x

Cro Magnon said...

I've just had a look at our long term forecast, and I see that Winter will arrive in about a week's time. I'm NOT looking forward to it.

MorningAJ said...

They're threatening snow for the end of the month, though I'm looking out onto bright sunshine at the moment. It hardly seems possible that we were up to our necks in it this time last year and still had about 10 weeks of it to come.

Stone age man would have longed for spring just the same as we do, because he'd have been pretty short of food by now. He'd have eaten up any nuts and berries he had stored and there wouldn't have been many leaves he could eat either. Maybe some roots to dig up, if he wasn't under six feet of snow!

mrsnesbitt said...

Jon waits for the longest day as it then is the build up to Spring and that means he will be getting out the motorbike and counting the months to our annual pilgrimage to The Isle of Man. We will definitely get over to see you Pat.

Robin Mac said...

Here we are saying how soft we have all become because we can't take the heat! When I was growing up nobody even had fans in the house and all our cooking was done on wood sroves, even if the temperature was 115 degrees. Now all the new homes (and schools) are fully air conditioned. I must admit I am very glad to sleep in air conditioning in this weather, but can cope very well with overhead fans during the day. Young people don't know anything about wood stoves and I am very happy to use my electric stove. Cheers

Barbara said...

We've just endured some of the coldest weather I've ever experienced in our part of the world. It was -3* with winds blowing between 20 and 30mph. That made it feel like -40*F It was cold!
...and I got to thinking about our ancestors, too. Somehow, they survived without the weather station reminding them to bundle up when they went outdoors and telling them to check on their pets and livestock. (is that really necessary?)
After all the miserable cold (no precipitation, just COLD) it’s wonderful to note the extra few minutes that we have before sunset, the slight change to the sun’s angle, and yes…the slightest indication of budding on the earliest of plants.
Thankfully, winter doesn’t really last that long. THINK SPRING!

the veg artist said...

My eyes fix on spring the instant that Christmas is over. Our garden is of the woodland type, and we have planted hundreds of bulbs since moving here. Already we can see strong shoots, and I'm always conscious that there is frenetic activity, unseen, which goes on underground each winter. I see it all as a continuous process. We are only a tiny part of it!

Arija said...

Your childhood was much like mine except that we had no washing water in the bathroom, it would have been solid ice. We washed in the kitchen with the warmth of the stove. Water had to be drawn from the well and carried in. Electricity was one bulb per room hanging from the ceiling
Even with the temperature in the 100's I draw all the curtains and use the fan rather than air-conditioning. In winter I use minimal heating in the living room but still sleep with my window open as usual.

No mater what the season brings, don't wish it away, take the best it offers, this particular winter will never come again.

Edwina said...

I too, went to look for snowdrops this morning and found the first clump which always appears mid-to late January, beneath the silver birch. And there were the three inch high shoots... lovely to see.
I don't crank up the heating, I can't stand over-heated spaces (dread going to our local surgery which is so hot you feel you can't breathe) so I just add another thin layer. It worries me not, I love the different seasons, even if I do moan when it's too hot/cold!

George said...

It's been bitter cold here, Pat — down to 8 degrees F, and we had to shut off the water yesterday because of a burst pipe. Today, I shaved in a makeshift bowl of bottled water, so I can relate to how you grew up. The farmer is right, of course, we need to simply take what comes, not just in weather, but in all things.

Gwil W said...

The primroses are getting out. The Christmas roses are still out. The birds seem to think it's spring. The cats are looking for them. No sign of winter in Vienna. The weather man is giving us a 50/50 chance that we'll get through it without a snowflake.

angryparsnip said...

We have been lucky with the bitterly cold that has hit most of the country.
But we are looking forward to our much needed winter rains.
I do hope Gwil's cats are just looking at birds. The bird population is been decimated by city cats killing birds for fun.

How are your chickens ? @mrsnesbitt has been running a fun story about putting golf balls in the chicken house to wake up her chickens and get them to start laying again.

cheers, parsnip

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Ah, you are so lucky. Snowdrops won't appear around here until well into March! But I feel that the days are lengthening, ever so slightly, but enough to raise my spirits considerably.

Rachel said...

By the time you reach a certain age you have enough winter woollies in the cupboard. My cats look at a bird every day.



















GillyK said...

We've got a snowdrop out in Leyburn! Just a mile or so from you Pat, but perhaps a little more sheltered.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Growing up in S.E. Alaska - the part the runs down along the west coast of British Columbia - we heated and cooked with wood or oil - my mom baked bread to sell to the fisherman in an oven that held one loaf of bread at a time. We dressed in bedrooms with ice on the windows and learned early to layer our clothes to stay warm. I still layer rather than turning up the furnace from its customary setting of 66.

We don't have really cold cold cold weather here in NW Washington - but it is often down to freezing at night - enough to make us pull on our wool socks and add another quilt to the bed.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Growing up in S.E. Alaska - the part the runs down along the west coast of British Columbia - we heated and cooked with wood or oil - my mom baked bread to sell to the fisherman in an oven that held one loaf of bread at a time. We dressed in bedrooms with ice on the windows and learned early to layer our clothes to stay warm. I still layer rather than turning up the furnace from its customary setting of 66.

We don't have really cold cold cold weather here in NW Washington - but it is often down to freezing at night - enough to make us pull on our wool socks and add another quilt to the bed.

Em Parkinson said...

I seem to have gone back in time living here as we rely totally on our woodburner, which only gets lit in the evening. In the day, the layers pile on or I go and do the ironing, which always warms me up! We've also got off VERY lightly with the weather. I fear that US freeze may be on its way though....

The Weaver of Grass said...

John - I think you must have looked at my blog during the minute it was incorrect. Part of it disappeared and I recalled it to finish it off - so sorry about that.
Thanks for calling in and everyone seems to agree that winter is on its way. Do hope it never arrives, but I fear that is wishful thinking.
Thanks for the visit.

Dominic Rivron said...

Are we going soft?

"I don't know! It's always bronze this and bronze that these days. When I was a lad you had to fell a wildebeeste with nowt but a lump of flint!"