Monday, 27 December 2010
I try to imagine what it must be like to live in a country where it snows heavily for prolonged periods. I know that places that expect heavy snow each year deal with it in a way that means that daily life goes on without the chaos that ensues here. But free flowing roads or not, you would still need to wrap up in an array of warm but fundamentally unflattering layers before venturing out. Footwear must be decided limited. Shoes of almost any description must be out for months and even boots would have to be of the flat, practical and warm type. Shearling is the height of fashion this year but when spiky heels and butter soft suede are the must haves of the season then it would be no go.
The chalet from which I skied last year sits nestling into the side of the French Alps. You could ski from the top of the penultimate lift straight to the back door. Perfect. Unless you actually lived there.There would be no popping out for milk. The last lift ran at 5.00. Woe betide anyone who needs to get to the village after that time. It is snow shoes and a long and arduous trek down the path that used to be the road. What if it was an emergency? Do all pregnant women confine themselves to the bottom of the mountain for the last few weeks? Are all bar tenders actually qualified midwives on the side?
Not being a cold weather creature, I often imagine living where the sun shines every day. I dream of waking to that light that comes at the beginning of a day that promises heat. What if you could arrange a party in your garden and know that it would go ahead rather than spending all week watching the weather forecast with fingers crossed? Imagine how it would be to pop to the beach with the children after school rather than the park. My favourite part of this particular daydream is being warm. Throughout an English winter, I'm never properly relaxed. My muscles are perpetually tensed against the cold. I don't notice until the spring warmth returns and then I suddenly realise that I am no longer bracing myself.
Of course, It's a classic case of the grass being greener. My Godmother lived in the Caribbean for many years and she once said that the thing she missed most about home was the change of the season. I suppose she had a point. The year in England plods on and it is easy to work out where you've got to just be looking at the trees. At some point in each season the weather does what is expected of it - although rarely for the whole three months. And that brings some rhythm to our lives, some structure. So, now it's winter and it's snowing. And it is rather pretty- in a cold kind of way.