Part 76: Icy, Icy England

Isn’t it just joyous, to step from the cosy cocoon of one’s bedclothes straight into a blast of chilling wind so icy that beads of moisture form icicles on the rim of one’s nostrils? Isn’t it just doubly joyous to do so in late March, when tradition dictates that one should be picking daffodils in pleated midi-skirts and pastel twin-sets and delivering them to one’s mother in a wicker basket?

The answer to both of those questions is, obviously, no, it is not. It is unpleasant in the extreme. Snow capped roof tops are only romantic in December. And even then only because brain freeze takes the edge off the hundreds of pounds haemorrhaging from your bank account and morphing into overpriced chiffon scarves from Accessorize that will sit unworn in the back your Nan’s wardrobe until such a time that your as-yet-unborn nephew needs a costume for his role as one of the three kings in the primary school nativity.

I don’t think I’m the only one who has looked out of the window and then at the weather app on my i-phone and concluded that Britain is going to be cold, like, FOREVER. This is seriously depressing, not least because months of central heating use have left clumps of white skin flaking from my face and landing on my clothing in an ironic impersonation of the world outside.

Still, if there’s one thing to thank The Big Freeze for it is, unsurprisingly, that it has served as a timely reminder that excessive weather conditions are definitely easier to bear sans lover. This is because, despite those fantasies, close to the surface of our romance-hungry brains, about the warmth of another human body, sex in front of the fireplace, matching winter-wear etc, everybody knows that an extended winter lockdown with a loved one is unpleasant and likely to cause malfunctions of the personality not conducive to harmony. I mean, who could, hand on heart, promise that she would not wish to violently assault her romantic partner should that romantic partner chill her duvet-warmed flesh with a freezing tootsie. Not I.

Seasons are, after all, the reason why the British are a generally peaceable, affable people on their home turf. We have an annual schedule of activity and a carefully constructed wardrobe that revolves around three month bursts of predictable climatic conditions (including obligatory golf umbrellas for summer family picnics). We are rendered wholly unable to cope when Ural winds/halted Gulf Streams intervene in established conventions by causing the world outside to be fucking freezing at a point in the year when it should be pleasantly temperate. In fact, I think you could probably attribute much of the violence that occurred under British colonialism to the lack of preparedness our forefathers had for dealing with, say, the relentless heat of Sub-Saharan Africa, or the long cold winters of Northern America*.

I have no evidence in support of this, but I would not be in the least bit surprised if the domestic violent crime rate had seen a recent sharp rise – if only because violent criminals are, like the rest of us, unwilling to leave the house because of the weather and slowly succumbing to a debilitating rage brought on by cabin fever.

All I can suggest, single people, in the midst of the modern ice-age, is that you hunker down with a sun lamp and a good book and wait for the snow-storm to pass. Unless you can afford a holiday, in which case, I’ll totally let you off should you feel all horny and allow the rush of sun induced serotonin to convince you that you’ve fallen in love with a Mediterranean waiter. Although, having watched Shirley Valentine, I wouldn’t recommend bringing one home.

*On reflection, I probably don’t think this.

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