If you live in Australia – even if you have spent long chunks of time in the UK – even if you are, in fact, English – you have no idea what COLD really means.
Since we have been back here, the weather has been very variable, though there has been a common theme running through it all – yes, you guessed it, it's been COLD. Though people keep saying how mild it is for the time of year, I think they're just enjoying being smug to/at us poor thin blooded Aussies – or is it thick blooded? Can never remember which way round it is.
Anyway, each day seems to be different. Some days we wake up and the frost is so thick it looks like snow; each cobweb, each blade of grass, each leaf, furred with ice, the roofs of the houses covered in a thick white blanket, the windows of the car painted with icy leaves and mountains by Jack Frost himself. Sometimes, the very air is thick and white, so that the frost crackled hedges along the sides of the road merge into the thin milkiness around them. Sometimes it's raining, constant wet dripping all along the eaves, dribbling down window panes and you just want to shout at the clouds: “For heaven's sake, just get on with it and do it properly and then ******* off again!” (Not that I, personally, would ever dream of using such language.)
Some days the sun is shining and the sky is almost blue and you are tempted into thinking that it would be such a good idea to go for a walk. So you add another three layers to the thirty three you are already wearing, step outside and immediately realise why you should have trusted your better instincts and stayed inside with a hot cup of tea and hibernated. Not that it's that much warmer inside – in spite of the fact that we have three fireplaces, we cannot light a single fire until we have spent a couple of million pounds on the chimneys – in other words, not for a year or so at least. So you sit inside with your Ugg boots and tights on and your toes are still screaming with the need to wriggle off your feet and run away to the Bahamas. Or Australia, as the case may be.
I'm really not sure how anybody gets anything done in this country. I find it hard to manoeuvre round the house in all my layers, let alone do anything useful – even going to the toilet, if I am going to be crude, which I am – is a feat of great engineering. My violin has been out of its case precisely once and after five minutes of playing I couldn't feel the strings any more.
Still, it makes a change. Or so someone said, at some point, I believe.
And it's very beautiful. Bought n old fashioned ordnance survey map yesterday, so now just waiting for my wellies to arrive from Brisbane and we'll be off, into the muddy fields to play with the cows.