Alison’s Advent Calendar Day Five – Winter

Winter Sunrise 30 Nov 002

Bare tree opposite my house.

If the weather forecast is to be believed, the winter is going to kick in with a vengeance today. Gale force winds, warnings of coastal flooding, minus temperatures at night. Brrr! Time to lock the doors, close the curtains, stick on a Christmas film and roast some chestnuts on an open fire – if you’re lucky enough to have an open fire.

I think I’m a bit of a weirdo (no need to agree) but I like winter. Actually, it would be more accurate to say I like the seasons when they behave appropriately; not the wet mush that England endures most of the time, summer differing from winter only inasmuch as the wet mush is slightly warmer and the days a lot longer. I like real seasons: hot summers, showery springs, blustery autumn with its vibrant colours, and crisp, cold winters. Is anyone really immune to the beauty of a bright, frosty morning, or freshly fallen snow? Doubtless folk in Scotland are wondering what a southern softie like me knows about snow, but we do occasionally get inclement weather  ‘daahn sarf’. Prophets of doom have been warning for weeks that this will be the ‘worst winter since records began’, but the doomsters say the same every year, so I’m not putting any money on it being a white Christmas just yet.

At about 7.30 this morning, I glanced out of my east facing window and witnessed one of the most spectacular sunrises I have ever seen. The sky was bright red, rising to orange and then pink the higher I looked. There was nothing else for it: I had to grab my camera, dodge the rush hour traffic, and take a photograph.

Winter Sunrise 5 Dec 2013 002

Sunrise over Fen Ditton, 5th December 2013.

Unfortunately my camera couldn’t capture the vibrancy of the colours. I don’t think any picture can truly display nature at her finest. As I came back to my house, shivering as the temperature is definitely plummeting outside, I saw the sunrise reflected in the window of the Ancient Shepherds pub.

Winter Sunrise 5 Dec 2013 004

The reflection in the pub’s window is a pretty good indication of the shade of the sky this morning.

I’ve heard the old ‘red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning’ saying many times – how appropriate is the name of the pub! I know we’re in for high winds and freezing temperatures later, but that’s as it should be in December. Proper winter. While writing this post I’ve had a quote travelling round my head from Watership Down – the wonderful rabbity tale by Richard Adams, and quite possibly the book which first inspired me to become an author.

‘Many human beings say that they enjoy the winter, but what they really enjoy is feeling proof against it.’  

How true. I love wrapping up warm and venturing out on a winter’s day mainly for the sheer delight of returning, glowing, into the snugness of home.

It’s dawned on me I’ve given much of this post over to talking about the weather – how terribly British of me, and what a magnificent excuse to add one of my all time favourite songs. In honour of the gales to come, it has to be: Winter Winds by Mumford and sons. Enjoy.


Advent Calendar 004Today’s advent calendar picture: A wrapped Christmas gift.


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