Or so claimed, the splendidly named, Coventry Kersey Dighton Patmore in his poem “Winter”. This appeared in the volume of odes entitled “The Unknown Eros”, widely considered his finest work,. From a rather cursory survey of his masterwork, I can tell you that he was no Pam Ayres. He must also have moved in a rather different social circle to me, as I know of no-one who claims to be enamoured of the season (unless it be for the opportunity to ski – or otherwise slide – at relatively modest cost that it affords). But, with a name like that, I can forgive him quite a lot!
Still, love it or (more likely) loath it, it has become clear that winter is – or at least its heralds are – upon us.
Yesterday evening, on my way to see (and, perhaps more crucially hear) the Endellion String Quartet, I saw a gritter abroad in the twilight – my first sighting of the season. Encountering a working gritter in a car can give rise to concerns about damage to your paintwork. Meet one on a bike and the main concern is having a shovel-full of salt hurled in your face. Luckily, it wasn’t spraying – and so I didn’t receive my RDA of sodium for the month of October in one go.
This morning, a little after eleven, I was finally forced to admit defeat and turn on the heating for the first time since Spring. And, to silence any doubters out there, here is photographic ‘proof’ that the heating was running (at least for the few seconds needed to capture the image):
(Seeing the picture, I can’t help thinking that the controls – hidden since Spring – could do with a wipe-down with a damp cloth.)
So, in Fish Towers at least, 20 October 2011 marks the official start of Winter – a bit of a shock coming, as it does, barely two weeks after high summer. Still, according to the boffins in Bracknell, by Sunday we should be back into late summer warmth. It’s all very confusing and not just to me! I have tulips coming up in the front garden – which even given my rather limited knowledge of horticulture, I’m pretty sure is not supposed to happen until Spring. I’m also still harvesting fresh tomatoes and raspberries, and gathering up vast quantities of fallen leaves. I feel like I’m living in a pizza or maybe a violin concerto: within the grounds of Fish Towers I seem to be enjoying the four seasons – all at the same time!