Today is yet another wet and windy day in Southampton.
Like many people, I really hate this time of year, especially in England because it’s often so dark and gloomy.
When I moved to the USA in 1994, not long after I arrived, someone posed the question “why are British people always so miserable?” I was stumped for an answer, but I agreed, we often are a miserable lot, always complaining about something or other. Another American then chirped up with a response “it’s because they don’t see the sun for weeks at a time”.
I thought about this, and still do on days like this, and apart from a few minutes on Saturday when I could see a small patch of blue sky through the clouds, I haven’t seen the sun in a while.
I often think back to the 12 years I spent in Indiana, and although the winters were cold, sometimes bitterly cold, it was a dry cold, not damp like we have here. You were guaranteed snow, which would often stay on the ground for months until it melted, but that wasn’t a problem, they had the infrastructure to deal with it. The best thing though, was the frequent (at least that’s how I remember it) days of clear blue skies, with not a cloud to be seen. Even when it was 30 degrees below freezing outside, if you were sitting in a conservatory or even in the car and the sun was shining, it didn’t feel that cold, and the sunshine really made you feel good.
Of course there are downsides to a cold dry winter, and that’s static electricity. Everywhere I went during those Indiana winters, I would get static shocks, often huge ones. Every time I touched a door handle, I got into the habit of slapping it, which had a known feeling, rather than just touching it and feeling a jolt as a surge of electricity went through my body. I must admit I didn’t like that, and sometimes it was a pain having to drive in a blizzard, but at least the scenery was often amazing with all the snow.
So if you were to ask me whether I preferred wet and windy days or cold and sunny ones in the winter, I would opt for the cold and sunny ones over dark and gloomy ones every time.