Cold Hands, Warm Heart

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.

This is such a classic British winter image. The Houses of Parliament covered in snow from Westminster Bridge in good ole London

You’ve got to have an image of the telephone box in the snow, right?

Again, this image is a classic. The native robin is one of the few British birds that sticks out the harsh weather and doesn’t migrate in the winter. For that reason, seeing a robin in the snow is one of the most iconic British winter scenes that comes to my mind

This is actually a picture of the Cathedral Grounds in my old hometown

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.

~ Jennifer

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20 responses to “Cold Hands, Warm Heart

  1. The cold weather, the snow, the spelling–Canada and the UK certainly have a lot in common 🙂

    I’m one of those people who hates the cold, but I have to admit that my favourite time of year to go to the barn is in the winter. Right when you walk in, the barn air is warm with the heat of horses. And after I’ve ridden and warmed up, I love nothing better than to stand outside in the darkness of night, breathing the crisp, cool air, admiring the sharp moonlight and the muffled silence. Plus, it’s during the wintertime that the constellation Orion appears in the sky, and he’s my absolute favourite constellation.

    • Aha, indeed! Though I feel Canada is colder than the UK, but in that case, I’d probably love it there (;

      Ohh, winter nights are special! That sounds like a wonderful moment. I can imagine myself there; I can feel it and smell it. But then, I’ve been there before, in a time gone by… (:

  2. Reading this now, and looking at all those pictures, just depresses me, as I sit here in the beginning of February in a T-shirt, with the heating turned off. I haven’t worn a coat once… I really can’t remember a winter quite like it…

    Haha, I love ‘the battle’ every morning, though I rarely win. So comfy… snooze. Snooze. Snooze. Oh I’m already late. It’s AMAZING when it’s been a blizzard overnight though, and you wake up and the sky is so bright for the snowfall… I seriously go back to about age four when that happens.

    I have lots of relatives over in Australia who I’d love to visit one day. But I just don’t think I’d be able to cope with the weather! Isn’t it about 40°C in nighttime over there? Crikey, sheila!

    • Oh, tell me about it. This weather is so miserable. Back in November, it was actually quite chilly, and I thought, ‘Oh good, we’re going to have a cold winter’ … o_O WRONG. 😦

      I normally win, if I can think of a decent reason to actually get out of bed in the first place. Staying under the sheets is just too enticing a prospect most of the time. But that is amazing, yes 🙂 The light after it has snowed is so beautiful. Ha, same here. It unleashes the inner child.

      Oh wow, yeah, that would be way too much for me. I would genuinely die in that heat. It was bad enough in Texas, and it wasn’t even THAT hot while I was there. Though, one day, it was 98% humidity… Holy moly it was bad. At night, they had the fans on, otherwise you just melt… I found that odd. A gentle hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm while cool air pats you on the face every now and then. Everywhere and everything is air conditioned though, so as long as you avoid the sun… it wasn’t too unbearable. I imagine Australia is the same.

      • Yes, I remember thinking that too. Such a shame. Probably too late to hope for any snow, now… although saying that, we did have some in April last year, so maybe all is not lost yet.

        Haha, I was so bad at the fight. Seriously. Mumsey was worried about my exhaustion and irregular sleep patterns, quite often. She even put a doorbell speaker thing under my bed (without asking, I add) with a button in the kitchen. 7 in the morning… DINGDONG! I woke up horrified. What on earth was that noise? It certainly worked. Well, once or twice. Funny though, and so typical of my mother.

        Hmm. I’m liking the idea of Canada more and more. I imagine our views on weathers downunder are just as ill-informed as those assertions made about our own… I mean, miserable and rainy, all day every day? Shows what they know…!

      • Yeah, who knows with the country. The weather is all over the place. I reeeeeaally hope we get even a little bit of snow at some point, though. Just a teeeeny-weeeeny bit. That’s not too much of an ask, is it? I annoys me when people moan about snow. It’s like I get personally offended or something.

        Haha! That is really funny. Wow. My mum never had to do stuff like that, ’cause, considering how much of a rebel I was, I used to get up really well 😉 Really early, too, now I think about it. I’m sure it did work though, giving you a slight heart attack.

        Canada is seeming so great right now. I should take a trip there, indefinitely… Ha, they know nothing. Sunshine all the way over here! I mean, I’m not sat here listening to the rain smash against my window or hearing howling winds at all…… Have you seen Somerset on the news recently? Genuinely think we’re going to be totally submerged soon.

      • Haha! I totally get like that when people dis snow, and also thunderstorms. LEAVE THEM ALONE.

        It was hilarious, I’ll admit, but still really strange. That’s my mum, there. I was the opposite, I’d sit up all night and get up something like 20 minutes before I had to leave for school. Ahh well, I was never late of my own accord! The bus took care of that for me, most mornings…

        Oh yes, there are howling winds here, no rain though, although it was pouring during the afternoon. I think it was, anyway – I don’t go outdoors that often. I have indeed, was talking to Sherri about this just the other day. It’s so awful – makes our tidal surge in December seem tame. Are you in a vulnerable area, or out of harm’s way?

      • Aha, exactly! Though, I won’t lie, I am a little bit funny with storms sometimes, but I do like listening to thunder.

        Ha, I was always late, which was quite an achievement given how early I used to wake. Ohh, relying on buses was the worst for that. Especially when you had an exam in the morning… Such tension.

        Ha, I feel that. I’ve been bad for going outdoors recently myself… Just can’t be doing with it right now. Though, you are likely to been blown away at the moment… It’s unbelievable, it really is. Where I am actually has no flooding at all really, despite being on the coast, but literally everywhere surrounding here is flooded. Though we are getting landslips. But we’re lucky, so I’m not complaining. Roads leading to and out of here are flooded, though, soo..
        Have you heard: the west country is totally cut off! No trains! Isn’t that fun. ‘Cause the west country wasn’t cut off from everything else enough as it was… I always get the sense that the rest of the UK doesn’t really care about the west country. It’s just ‘that place’ you go on holiday. If the government aren’t careful, they are going to enrage an entire section of the country.. (even more so). I hope everything’s all right where you are.

      • Ha, growing up we used to live right near the sea (Hopton-on-Sea) so we always used to get a great view of the lightning storms as they slowly crept toward us.

        This is why I never got up early. I would never have got there any earlier, and I hate hanging around. I always arrive right on time; never early, but not late either. But yes, buses were a complete pain, and the drivers didn’t care either, and some teachers didn’t seem to comprehend that IT WASN’T MY FAULT. I was late for my first GCSE exam because of the bus – I was already stressed enough as it was…

        You’re very lucky. My parents, who still live in Hopton-on-Sea, were like that before Christmas. Most of the surrounding areas were flooded, they were untouched.

        Wow I didn’t know about this. Ha, I get the same vibe from the rest of you about Norfolk, to be honest. Just used for our cheap broads holidays.

        Thanks, I’m okay, and my parents can’t have had word of any warnings, else I’d have been summoned to move everything upstairs again. Oh, that was a lark. Not. Norwich is fairly safe from floods, it’s just those Bengal tigers we’ve touched on before that are the issue. It’s a cat-aclysmic issue, in fact.

        I suggest you stay indoors, huddle up with a nice cocoa breakfast and catch up with some Antiques Roadshow and Crystal Maze; don’t go out and knock any poor women over in the rain or anything like that *blushes*.

      • “A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins, nor is he early; he arrives precisely when he means to.”

        Don’t mind me quoting LotR (such a geek). But, in conclusion, you are a wizard. Yeah, some teachers were total morons when it came to understanding that.

        Lucky indeed. Well the Thames is flooding now, so when it comes to helping the Thames Valley and such, or the Somerset Levels/the west country, who dya reckon the Government will pick? HMM LET’S THINK. Apparently, towns are more important than the country. Well, when we have no farmland left, f* you, you… UGHH!!! Okay, sorry, frustration out. Just an angry westerner over here 😉

        Gosh, did you have to do that? That wouldn’t have been fun… Haha, ah, those tigers. When will that problem be solved?

        I wish I could, but I’ve got to walk the dog….. I hate doing it in this weather, I always feel like it’s an adventure to the death. There are so many sheer hills /cliff faces here, and with the wind ? It’s actually pretty scary… Might just walk round the street. Ugh, there’s nowhere to go here it irritates me.

        What kind of monster would knock over a poor, innocent woman like that? 😉

      • Well, I am happy to be called a wizard. Haha, got to love a bit of Lord of The Rings. Though I’ve never read the books 😉

        It’s getting so out of hand, isn’t it?? And it’s like being told to just put up with it, and expect it. There are a number of new flood warnings on the Norfolk coast now, too… still not near the folkes, though.

        Was the ‘Gosh, did you have to do that?’ aimed at moving everything upstairs at my parents, or my ‘cataclysmic’ pun 😉 If the former, yes, and no it wasn’t fun. Worst, I had to contend with feisty cats, trying to lock them in my old bedroom, making me feel guilty by scratching and crying sombrely back through the door at me.

        Aah, yes, I’d suggest it’s probably best to stay away from cliff edges. No parks or whatnot nearby?

        Well, if I met someone who had done that, I’d clock ’em. 😉

      • It’s one of the nicer names you’ve been called, I’m sure 😉 The books are pretty heavy going to be fair. Still, I am a geek nonetheless. I can practically quote the entire films *snorts*. Rather LotR FOREVER than Twilight, heaven forbid the thought.

        They Government need a slap. I’m hating David Cameron at the moment. He’s a total, total clot. Oh dear, really? Hopefully it doesn’t get too bad..

        Haha, well, now you mention it.. Aimed at both 😉 I went for ignoring that cat-aclysmic comment. Don’t want to encourage you, after all 😉 That cat yowl is one of the worst sounds. They just sound so traumatised! On the subject of cats, I’m getting so pissed off with mine at the moment… bloody thing.

        No parks! It’s rubbish. There’s the beach… but right now, I’m thinking it wouldn’t be too wise to go down there. Such a stupid place. I’m getting really angsty here. Don’t like it.

        Aha, well you need to be knocking yourself out then. Why don’t you smash your head through the wall? 😉

      • Haha yes, I can definitely think of much, much worse. Aww, that’s so geeky it’s quite impressive. I’m the same with the old Batman films, actually. Now that’s classic boy nerd stuff.

        Rather athlete’s foot than Twilight, let’s be fair.

        Why is your cat pissing you off? What are they getting up to? I have Oscar Wildcat on my lap as I even type, getting in the way. What breed of cat is it? Also, what breed of dog do you have?

        Ha! Or laugh so much, I fall backwards and bang my head , after viewing certain photographic masterpieces. 😉

      • There are worse things to geek over, I feel. Aha, good ol’ Batman. Hahahaha, yes. Yes. ANYTHING but Twilight.

        Gosh, that was a slight bombardment of questions 😉 Moved house last month, she’s straight out refusing to go outside, so she keeps pissing on the floor!! Not even in the bloody litter tray. What is wrong with the stupid thing? Cat pee stinks beyond belief… She’s a very pretty cat, though – she’s a persian cross, but she’s got unusual colouring/markings. As for the dog, he’s a Northern Inuit. Basically, a very large Husky. He’s antisocial, like me. And along with the cat now, so it would seem. Runs in the family, clearly.

        Aw, wouldn’t that have been a SHAME, hurting yourself while laughing at funny pictures. Surely, no photo could be that funny…. 😉

      • Haha, I’m sorry about the excitable 20 questions, I’m tired and have not long eaten some Skittles. They are basically class-A’s to me, the effect they have.

        Aah yes I know how irritating that is. There might be a few reasons why she’s not using the litter tray. She may be unwell, or something may be scaring her away from it. I have this issue with Oscar when his cystitis flares up.

        http://playfulkitty.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/10-reasons-your-cat-wont-use-the-litter-box/

        Wow! Purty purrer. O-M-G. I have always wanted a huge husky. They are AMAZING. We are stuck with a deerhound-cross-lurcher here. Nice looking dog (though I’m not that struck; I prefer a big sturdy dog like a husky), but seriously, the most disobedient, boisterous creature I have ever encountered. You tell him to sit and he just barks at you for daring to command him.

        Hahaha, well I can think of at least one 😉

      • It’s all right, I shall find it in my heart to let you off 😉

        The fact you actually shared a link with me, that’s so thorough and thoughtful. Aw, bless you 😛

        What do you mean STUCK? I love deerhounds, and I love lurchers. My dog is amazing though, I shan’t lie 😉 My mother is a dog behaviourist (yeah, she’s is also a Jack of all trades). She’d have a thing or two to say about that, I’m sure 😉

        Haha, oooohh, it’s kind of depressing how bad that photo is. I mean, what even is my face? But it’s just so. darn. funny. I should carry a copy of it with me, always, so if I ever encounter someone glum, I can brighten up their day.

      • You sound surprised. Yes, ever-thoughtful, no matter how malicious people are to me. Sigh… it’s my biggest weakness, I think. Too nice – not ruthless enough.

        Haha, well, I saw that post the other day (I am a devout follower of Playful Kitty, you’ll be surprised to hear) and thought it relevant. It could of course be she’s just misbehaving because of the weather outside!

        I want your dog already and I don’t even know what he/she looks like. Maybe we can trade?

        Depressing? It’s amazing. Haha, you so should. I’m thinking of getting it printed on a T-shirt.

      • Isn’t someone a sweetheart 😉 I know what you mean though, I’m the same. My friend (you know, the one who kicks guys outta bed) is forever saying I’m not ruthless enough. And then she goes on to say I’m a better person than her, which is nice, but not accurate.

        You follow a cat blog?! 😮 You continue to shock me, Stevick 😉 I think it’s the latter, to be honest.. Silly cat.

        Haha, how old is your dog? ‘Cause you’d be getting an old man dog. Well, kinda.

        Maybe you’d think slightly differently if it was your face… Haha! Well, if you get it printed on a t-shirt, be sure to show me the final result. Aw, think of all the days you’d brighten.

      • Sometimes I think I’m too nice-natured for my own good. Just get trodden on, really.

        Ha! Well, anybody would seem kind-hearted compared to somebody who destroys men’s confidence like that. Although I’ve never met the woman, I’m sure she’s delightful otherwise.

        Haha, don’t go hatin’ on poor putty tat. She still up to her wee tricks?

        THAT dog turned 1 on 11th January (incidentally, shares the birthday of my oldest son. Fun fact.) How old is your dog? I don’t care, he’s adorable. I can sense that he’s a cool dog. I have these powers.

        Haha, that’s true, actually. I’d be horrified, most likely. I wouldn’t want people walking around pointing and laughing at me so I might pass on that score. I could get it printed and sent to you as a late birthday gift, though 😉

      • I’m sure you aren’t a total doormat 😉

        Hahaha, gosh, haven’t I painted her well for you. She is a delightful person, she just has her moments – predominately to do with men, actually. It is hilarious though. The amount of times I cry laughing in a cafe as she tells me her latest tale. Sometimes I wish I could be a little more like her, in being more ruthless and what have you, as then I probably wouldn’t have to deal with half the issues I have involving men. UGH, men 😉 Being too nice doesn’t always work out in your favour – unless, of course, I just have a habit of attracting the wrong people (which my friend has said on a few occasions).

        I think she’s stopped now, or at least she isn’t so bad with the weeing everywhere.

        STOP BEING SO CRUEL. Your poor dog. It must feel so unloved. Ha, fun fact indeed 😉 Er.. he’s 7 or 8. I can’t actually remember which one it is 😐 8, I think. Jeez, 8? That sounds far too old…

        Haha, YOU’D feel concious? You don’t have anything to worry about. That would be a warmly received gift 😉

"What does your heart tell you?" - ToO, chpt. 32

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