And believe me, in my back garden that's unprecedentedly cold. Here on the south coast, in the lee or the shadow, or the something of the South Downs, we have an unusually mild and dry micro climate, and in my tiny walled back garden, even more so. Is it not Eastbourne that lays claim to the most annual hours of sunshine in the country? Torquay, I believe, has higher average temperatures, but more rain.
I noticed the difference when I went to Huddersfield, in both rain and coldness. It's even noticeably colder in London, and as you go up on the train you can see the ground get frostier. I always try to bear this in mind when I'm tempted to up sticks and move to another part of the country - somewhere less crowded, more canal-y; somewhere different... somewhere bloody colder. So yes, reading the tales of people boating at the moment, I know I've got it easy. But I really do not like the cold. More than anything else, more than dark, more than wet, it's cramping and constraining. For me it's cold, not heat, that's oppressive. Heat is relaxing and expansive; cold constricting and repressive. It's OK if you're dressed for it - what a liberating discovery thermal undies were - but that only works if you're planning to be out in it for a significant time. If you're in the house, you're stuck there.
Anyway, I was meant to be going to Birmingham today. After a Tarporley committee meeting which saw me getting to bed at one a.m. following the consumption of large amounts of beer, dragging myself to a local government seminar in the frozen Midlands was just about exactly the last thing I felt like doing, but I'd forked out fifty eight quid for a train ticket so felt honour bound to use it. So Virgin/Railtrack have at least one customer who was very pleased to learn that there were no trains running out of Euston today. Having confirmed this on the website at six this morning I was able to go back to bed with a clear conscience and thoughts of a refund. There's always a bright side.