Many of us, though by no means all, will find ourselves in a soi disant new year. Many of you will already be surrounded by the broken shards of your resolutions – a fate I neatly side-step by never making any.
To add to the sense of jollity and mirth which characterises this time of year, kindly Father Janus has brought me a cold in his bulging sack. The two-faced wretch! So I find myself writing between sneezes, surrounded by discarded tissues (please try and lift those minds free of the gutter for just a moment).
The weather seems to have paid little attention to the currently fashionable calendar, even one followed by a sizable a portion of humanity. It has begun 2016 much as it ended 2015, with yet more rain and strong winds and despite shaving a degree or two off the temperature remains unseasonably mild (or so it seems to those of us relying on recent history to form a view as to what is seasonally appropriate). As my waterproofs are continually put to the test (and not always found sufficient to the task), I like to imagine that if Southampton is copping a load, then perhaps northern England will be spared. Sadly, the weather doesn’t seem to work in quite that way and there seems to be more than enough sky-borne water to go round.
Despite the south coast having seen less rain than much of the country (and possessing a rather quicker route back to the sea for that which does fall), it is still becoming an increasing challenge to find walking routes around town where the water level does not overtop the protection offered by even the tallest of my shoes. As a result, I find myself considering the purchase and use of wellington boots for the first time since my childhood. I recall them as being rather uncomfortable and sweaty back in the 1970s, but surely we have made vast technological strides (and I don’t mean mechanical, antipodean trousers) since then? . Hopefully, we haven’t devoted too much attention to shaving a tenth of a millimetre off the depth of the next generation of mobile phones and as a consequence neglected the humble wellie.
A little research suggests that there is quite the range of wellies available to suit even the most bloated of pockets, including something described as a ‘surf wellie’ (which I imagine is nearly as practical as an ironing wellie or ballet wellie). I rather fear I may have to sample some of the Iron Duke’s eponymous footwear to ensure it meets my exacting requirements. The purchase will be overshadowed by the fear that as soon as I am suitably shod, the rain will cease and be immediately replaced by a hosepipe ban: still, I am willing to ‘take one for the team’.
But now I must leave you and return my head to a bowl of steaming water, to which a few drops of Olbas oil have been added. This oil, despite an expiry date safely in the last millennium, seems to remain surprisingly potent. I reckon the bottle contains another seven years worth of contents at the current rate of usage – which made it a surprisingly good buy back in the 1990s.