Weather and pessimism

I was riding along Queen Victoria Street yesterday afternoon, when something strange and actually quite shocking happened. See if you can spot anything unusual in the photo below.

The sun came out!

I nearly fell off my bike with surprise – I don’t think I’ve actually seen the sun for more than a few seconds since sometime in December. Well, I’m sure that’s an exaggeration, but it does feel like I’ve been riding around under permanently grey skies – and through snow, rain and sleet – for the past month. It probably explains why I’ve been in such a rotten mood. I’d forgotten the sheer exhilaration of charging through the city in fresh air and blazing sunlight. The weather over the last few weeks has been at best like this:

…at worst like this:

With only the occasional break in the cloud, like this:

(Which, I’ll admit, is heavenly while it lasts.)

And London feels like a completely different city when it’s not muffled under layers of cloud – it’s fascinating what a difference the weather makes to one’s spatial perception.

Of course, it went right back to dull and drizzly today. But it was also quite warm – to my surprise, having been shivering in sub-zero temperatures and wearing all my clothes at once for the past few weeks, I found I was getting all hot and sweaty, and wishing I’d left a couple of layers at home.

This winter does seem to be a bit more severe than last year though. One of the (few) things I love about January is seeing the first snowdrops – I always forget about them until the moment they appear. Last year I noticed them even at the end of December. This year, so far – nothing. Even though I never usually expect them, I’m now noticing their absence.

And it may still get worse before it gets better. After all, last year there was snow on the ground in February. I’m pessimistically steeling myself for another cold snap. If nothing else, it would be an excuse to buy one of those nice pink merino baselayers from Icebreaker…

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