I love the cold. I love bundling on layers of clothing and I love the battle we face in the mornings, where we must emerge from our warm, cosy duvets to fight the frozen air. Stepping outside and being smacked in the face by the bitter frost and wind, sending shivers down my spine, puts a smile on my face. I don’t know why. But, I know many people do not share my love for the cold, dark months. When it gets to this time of year, all I hear is people moaning about the chill and the short daylight hours, but when the sunshine and heat comes back around in the warmer months, their smiles return and they endlessly declare how they love the heat. I, on the other hand, am quite miserable when it is hot, and it is I who then takes to moaning. When people discover that I love the cold and hate the heat, I often receive looks that would imply I am insane.
A little while back I returned home from spending some time in Texas. Months before I was due to head there, I was concerned about one thing: the weather. It is hot in Texas, and, as you now know, I don’t do hot. While I was there, there were a couple of very insignificant moments that simply made me think:
1) I was watching my cousin play tennis one afternoon, and I was talking to the tennis coach – a native Texan. He was saying how the weather on this day was the perfect tennis playing weather.
“It’s nice and cool, and there’s a light breeze. Perfect,” he said.
At this, I could not help but laugh, to which he gave me a peculiar look. I then felt the need to promptly explain myself. “It’s not cool,” I replied. It was about 25°C (77°F), which, for those who are not familiar with British weather, is a really nice summer’s day. Also, bearing in mind it was November, I was wearing a vest top. That felt wrong on so many levels, I cannot even describe it. It was against everything I have ever known being a Briton.
The tennis coach gave a big smile, now understanding why I laughed. “Ah, yeah!” he enthused. “This is hot for you, ’cause you’re from polar icecaps.”
Now, the United Kingdom is a far cry from being ‘polar icecaps’, but then I thought… Perhaps to a native Texan, who is used to enduring ludicrously high temperatures that I’m pretty sure the United Kingdom has never experienced even when we reach record-breaking heights, our country does seem like polar icecaps. And to me, a native Briton, Texas might as well be the Sahara Desert. It’s all relative. We acclimatise to the environment we’re in, because that’s how we survive.
2) While I was in Texas, the mornings were about 16°C (61°F). I walked my cousins to school in the mornings, and I left the house in a thin cardigan. Now, if I were walking my cousins to school back home in November, we would be kitted out in the whole shabang: coats, scarves, gloves. You know the deal. Anyway, the point is, sometimes I heard the locals say something…
“It’s chilly – it’s getting cold!” they exclaimed.
It made me smile to myself. This is another example of things being relative. If those Texans experienced a British November morning, I’d question whether they would make it through the day. Those early mornings were the equivalent of a pleasant day in the UK.
However, the United Kingdom, in the grand scheme of things, really isn’t that cold. There are places far, far colder. But it does get cold, dropping below freezing when winter comes along (well, in theory, anyway). I know it’s not officially winter yet, but here are some pictures of a Great British winter in all its glory.
So, although we’re a way off from officially being in winter, I’m sure any Briton will agree that it’s getting pretty chilly out now (in fact, the MET office are saying that next week the temperature is set to plunge). But isn’t there something special in the air when it gets cold? Okay, you may hate the cold, but I don’t know one person who doesn’t enjoy curling up on the sofa with a hot drink, watching the telly which really gets good in autumn and winter, feeling satisfied and content, warm and snug while the weather blows and howls outside. And, when it’s cold, the British cuisine really becomes Great. British food was made for the cold months: hearty and warm! It is the definition of comfort food. Soups, pies, roasts, stews, casseroles, gravy, veg – the whole lot – and how can we forget the glorious, glorious puddings? (one of my personal favourites is rice pudding – you can’t get more homely than that!) In the cold, we may be shivering and sniffing when we walk through the door after a long day, with red noses and rosy cheeks, and numb fingers that don’t function properly when we try to undo our coats; and, if you wear glasses, it may be a little bit irritating when you walk through the door only to have your lenses steam up instantly so you can’t even see the coat you’re supposed to be undoing. But isn’t warming up and getting cosy an unmatchable feeling? And surely, if you hate the cold, the food makes up for it just a little… right? When we eat warm food with the steam rising in our faces, you can just feel the warmth spread throughout our bodies – a tender glow that gives us a bear hug, and wraps every inch of us in wholesome well-being.
I don’t know if this happens to be because I’m just happier in the winter and therefore I am joyously biased, but I find that the colder it gets, the nicer people are. Is that just me? But think about it. It’s almost like the cold weather brings us all together, luring the best of human nature out of us. Because, let’s face it: the cold can be cruel indeed, and there are many less fortunate individuals who struggle through the months, be it because they can’t afford heating or shelter, or can’t afford the hearty food we all need to get by. When it’s cold, we see things like this far more commonly:
It is as though the coldness makes us realise that humanity is precious – the most heart-warming gift we can ever give. It is as though the coldness makes us realise that being alone is bitter, and that we all need someone: maybe someone dear to cuddle on the darkest of nights; maybe someone beside us to laugh with as we slip on the ice. Maybe someone we don’t know to stand before us and smile as they hand us their warm heart wrapped in a bundle of kindness.
Though on the outside we may be numb, our glowing warmth runs deep within, and we should always remember that it is there. If you hate the cold months, just remember that the glow is there, in you and in everyone around! You’ve just got to find it. And it’s so bright I’m sure you couldn’t possibly overlook it 🙂
Cold hands, warm heart, so they say.
It is so very true.
May you wrap up and stay warm throughout the cold months! And may you share your kindness with as many people as you are able. Winter draws ever near, and those of us in the northern hemisphere are soon to feel its bite, but we will all get through it with a smile if we embrace the glow that lights up the world.
Thanks for reading. Take care, everyone.