Friday 10 February 2012

Meanwhile, let's talk about the weather

I've been trying to write a post for some time about perception and change and breaking out of rigid ways of thinking - about how the world is and how people are, and how that relates to transition and the challenges we face on the planet.

But that post is going to have to simmer on the woodburner some more before I post it on the This Low Carbon Life. For those who may be interested, it's coming... tomorrow!

Meanwhile let's talk about the weather.

Do you notice anything unfamiliar in the photo above of North Parade, Southwold? There's the pier in the background, the sea's a bit rough, the sky is cloudy.

Is this an image of the past? The future?

I took this photo last Thursday afternoon, the temperature was just below freezing.

There is NO ONE to be seen. Not a soul. And not one car on this stretch where they are often parked bumper to bumper, and where it's busy even on cold winter days like this. In all the years I've lived here I have never seen this road so empty. And no I have not tampered with the image with Photoshop...

On Sunday five or six inches of snow fell in the lanes and the nearby wood. There was no one about as I walked out just after midday. It was so quiet. And dry. As I walked I became energised and felt close to the planet again.

It was like I had been inside for an aeon - too much Twitter and not enough Winter.

Gemma and Mike were supposed to be coming from Bungay with a couple of young cherry trees later that evening and to stay for some supper, but the temperature dropped and the snowy back roads froze so we put it off for a couple of days...

I've been speaking with Adrienne from Lewes on the phone. She was calling to ask something about twitter, but found it before I'd answered. She asked me if I'd read a recent article about the polar ice melting and causing colder snaps here. Oh yes, the one about the Antarctic, where that huge crack has formed. No, not that one, she said, this was in the Arctic...

Wednesday night Mike and Gemma drove over with the cherry trees. We put the central heating on for two hours, the second time this winter, and lit the woodburner with the dead elm I've been sawing up and writing about.

To our astonishment, they both said it was the warmest they'd been for weeks, even with the heating on. Gemma gets cold feet from standing over long periods of time whilst she's baking cakes for her business. It was lovely for us too. The thermostat (should be renamed friostat in our house) had registered 6 degrees celsius an hour before they arrived.

This is our third winter of severely reduced central heating. The first one was tough. Last year was very cold but our bodies had acclimatised from the previous year. This winter has been warmer but even with the present cold snap we've used the central heating less. Now I think we're the ones who have got tougher. I can't imagine life at 21 degrees at all these days.

I put the ice cream (leftover from a recent shared meal) outside in the frozen snow and we sat down to eat. First a hemp miso soup with freegan tofu, leeks and ginger - really warming. For the main course Charlotte had prepared the African dish Noki, with organic Italian polenta, peanut butter, local butternut squash and garlic, homegrown ring of fire chilli and Malden salt, all mashed up together and eaten with purple sprouting broccoli and organic Italian rice. This was delicious with a grated beetroot and carrot salad and winter salad leaves, all local. We dressed it with balsamic vinegar and Suma sunflower oil.

Afterwards I got the ice cream from outside and we ate it with organic creme fraiche, homemade strawberry jam/compote and braised rhubarb. And enjoyed life at 16 degrees...for the evening.

Pics: Empty Seafront Southwold Feb 2 2012; Snowy Wood Suffolk Feb 5 2012; Sunrise in a cold snap, Feb 2012; Ice Cream in the Snow; Eating with Charlotte, Mike and Gemma (all pics MW)

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