Over the past week in Cambridge, the temperature has dropped down to minus eight at night. It won't last long, and will rise again. Am sure there are colder parts of the country.
It's not the coldest I've experienced. When I was young, I worked for an animal welfare charity, and we flew 90 miles off the coast of Newfoundland onto the ice floes, to watch seal pups being born. We flew in helicopters and landed where the temperature was minus 20 or 30. We wore survival suits which made sleeping bag puffer coats look like summer vests. Our eyelashes grew ice in on them in minutes. We didn't stick around long. I remember feeling like my brain was going numb as everything was shutting down. I also remember that the bars we frequented at night back on dry land afterwards were mainly under ground, in basements. Like the one in 'Cheers' in Boston (sitcom style), to keep warm. Cambridge is tame by comparison.
It's all very well having exciting anecdotes like that. All it makes me think now is how much I've lived a charmed and exciting life. What the cold leaves me feeling now is having a strong sense of guilt. Guilt that I'm warm. Warm in my home, in the day and at night.
I heard on the news last week that the death stats are the highest since records began for January - month on month in England. I wonder how many of those are the elderly who cannot afford to heat their homes. It is very worrying.
I have taken many photographs of frost and snow over the years in Cambridge. But, instead, I thought I'd share one of blossom I took in the Mill Road cemetery. This tree never disappoints, and always reminds me of wedding cakes. So cheerful, and won't be long!
Stay warm and safe.