Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Ave Atque Vale, Thou Bleak Midwinter of My Discontent!

 

As most of you know, I’m British. And as such, I generally try to keep a pretty stiff upper lip about things. Not to whine unduly. And when I do whine, I try to whine at the person or people who are at the root of my dissatisfaction or unhappiness, or in the case of “things” that unsettle me, at the person or people who can actually do something about them. Thus my recent encounter with Highmark Insurance, who abruptly cancelled Mr. She’s Medicare Advantage plan because of “your failure to pay your bill for several months.” Big mistake. By the time I’d finished “whining” at them, I’d gotten matters corrected, his coverage reinstated and backdated, and an abject and fulsome apology from the Assistant to the CEO. The next day, I cancelled Mr. She’s Highmark Insurance, and signed him up with UPMC. A petty revenge, perhaps, but sweet nonetheless.

Which is all a roundabout way of saying that I’m not very good at passive-aggression, as (for better or worse) my behavior generally tends towards the denominator, rather than the numerator, of the fractional representation of the whole number that is my life. Passive-aggression, has just never been my style. Usually, if you’ve ticked me off, or (in my estimation) treated me poorly, you’ll hear about it from me directly. Doesn’t mean the rest of the world has to, though. If there’s a real point of contention at the center of our disagreement, hopefully we can sort it out between ourselves, without outside meddling. Hopefully. Because I was brought up to believe that’s how it’s done.

Today, though, I’m going to dispense with that habit of a lifetime. I’m going to engage in a bit of pointless whining, and expatiate on something that neither you, nor I, nor even that saucy little minx Greta Thunberg, can do anything about in real terms. I know that nothing will come of it. I know it will appear on this web page, and then just drift off into the ether like the unparliamentary expostulations of that great boiler-stoker, Ralphie’s dad. I know I won’t get an acknowledgement, let alone an apology from the Great Perpetrator of my misery. And I don’t care. I just want to get this off my chest, once and for all.

Naturally (I think I did mention that I’m British), this means that I am going to talk about the weather.

This is the start of a miserable time of year, weather-wise, in Southwest Pennsylvania. It’s alternately temperate and frigid, and no matter the reading on the thermometer, it’s wet and slippery (either due to ice or mud), and just generally revolting outside. The Brits may have written the book on foggy, damp, nasty, windy, biting, foul weather at any time of year, but late November through April in my neck of the woods will give them (us?) a run for the money, any day of the week. So, I call upon one of my favorite childhood musical revue acts to explain how I feel about it (the summer months in this area are somewhat more pleasant than those described in the song, but the rest of it is pretty much spot on):

Of course, this is a parody of a sweet little nursery rhyme that many moms use, when they’re trying to teach their progeny the months of the year, in the correct order, and with some context.

Flanders and Swann take it to a new level, though. And anyone can tell you that the situation around here at this time of year does seem to lend itself to some swearing. On this side of the pond, the bit of cultural debris that best expresses my opinion of this time of year was penned by Ezra Pound (1885-1972, and someone I don’t generally cotton to), and is his riposte to that charming medieval (14th Century) musical round, Sumer is Icumen In, which begins:

Sumer is icumen in,
Lhude sing cuccu!
Groweþ sed and bloweþ med
And springþ þe wde nu,
Sing cuccu!

(Summer is coming, loudly sing cuckoo! The seed grows and the fields bloom, and the woods spring new, sing cuckoo!)

Pound’s brilliant parody begins:

Winter is icumen in,
Lhude sing G-ddamm!

No translation needed. And I won’t go further, because he does rather overdo the exclamatory portion, but his references to “raineth drop and staineth slop,” “how the wind doth ramm,” and “an ague hath my ham [leg]” certainly do ring very true to me.

(Actually, it’s difficult to discuss either of these poems without getting into some touchy subjects, as even the first lovely little pastoral contains the phrase “Bulluc sterteþ, bucke uerteþ,” translated as “the bull stirs, the buck (male deer, or male goat) farts,” and is generally recorded as the first use of the verb “to fart” in the English language. Some find that a distasteful topic, and bowdlerize it, or pretend that the line says something other than what it does. Such is life.)

Still. Ugh. It’s just horrible outside today. As it was yesterday. As it will be tomorrow. Ugh. Dear Lord, please. No more of this. (ICYMI, this is the pointless whining part I described earlier. Wah. Wah. Waaaaaaaaaah.) He’s not listening. No-one is listening. No-one is going to fix it for me. Look in the <Ezra Pound’s favorite expletive> mirror, She. Gosh, it’s dreary.

And I feel, in myself, like nothing so much as “greasy She” on the farm (but without the extensive staff delineated by the Bard):

WHEN icicles hang by the wall
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail;
When blood is nipt, and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl
Tu-whit! tu-whoo! A merry note!
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

When all around the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson’s saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marian’s nose looks red and raw;
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl—
Then nightly sings the staring owl
Tu-whit! tu-whoo! A merry note!
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.–William Shakespeare

My nose is red, raw and dripping at the moment. I’ve just chucked some hay into the feeders for the sheep. And broken the ice on their water trough because the electric heating element seems to have failed (again). I can’t feel my fingers, and in spite of my best efforts with scarves and hoods, wet sleet has somehow got inside my jacket, and run down the back of my neck. My galoshes have developed their usual “year two” leak, and my feet are numb. The birds aren’t “brooding” at all, they’re screeching because the feeders are empty, so I need to do something about that. I do love the owls though (I listen for them every night), and the idea of “roasted crabs hiss[ing] in the bowl” is appealing. All I’ve got in the pot I’m keeling is boring chicken noodle soup. I wish it was colder, and perhaps snowing; then at least it would be pretty outside instead of dank and dreary:

St. Agnes’ Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was!
The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
The hare limp’d trembling through the frozen grass,
And silent was the flock in woolly fold:
Numb were the Beadsman’s fingers, while he told
His rosary, and while his frosted breath,
Like pious incense from a censer old,
Seem’d taking flight for heaven, without a death
Past the sweet Virgin’s picture, while his prayer he saith.–John Keats

But. No-one is listening. No-one is helping. No-one cares.

And yet. And yet . . .

Just now, one of my favorite carols, from my still-active Christmas playlist, has rung sweetly through the house. And, perhaps, I am healed, or at least put, temporarily, into a better and more productive frame of mind:

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

. . .

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

It’s a musical arrangement of a poem by a favorite author of my childhood, Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), and it is better known in the more lush orchestral arrangement by Gustav Holst, although I prefer the one above, by Harold Darke, which took Holst’s melody in an instrumentally sparser, and vocally more complex direction.

The original poem and the musical arrangement of it are a reminder for me that, no matter how trying external circumstances, no matter the bitter north wind that rushes in, together with a complement of dead and wet leaves, and an occasional shivering and dripping black cat, whenever I dare open the back door, no matter how cold and miserable, and sad and awful, things sometimes seem, it doesn’t have to be perpetual winter inside me. I can escape it any time I decide to!

And so I start by thinking about that “bleak midwinter . . . long, long ago.” And, of course, I disappear down a couple of rabbit holes that involve why some countries measure seasons using the equinoxes and solstices as midpoints and some don’t; thus does the birth of the Christ Child occur in the “bleak midwinter” in the song, and yet only four days after the “start” of winter where I live. Fascinating. But a deflection, rather than the point. So, regroup, She. Try again.

And I come to the last stanza, and the last line, and I realize something I’ve always known, but which, in occasional bouts of self-absorption and misery, even just about things like the weather, I frequently forget: that the only thing that matters is what’s in my heart. That no matter how much or how little, in real terms I have or don’t, or how cold, or how miserable I feel, I am in charge of a heart. My heart. That I am free to give it, or withhold it, at will. And that if I fall on the side of “give,” if there is warmth and love and kindness there, it doesn’t really matter what the little weather station on top of my bookcase reports about the dire and ugly situation outside. Nor does my success or failure rate in living up to, or living down, the expectations of others matter all that much, either. Inside my heart, there is love, there is gratitude, there is warmth, there is kindness, and there is truth. And through them, with them, and in them, I find I can vanquish the “bleak midwinter,” after all.

Because in my heart, it’s always summer.

Thank you, Lord.

Then the heart of Éowyn changed, or else at last she understood it. And suddenly her winter passed, and the sun shone on her.–J.R.R. Tolkien

Photo credit: Dietmar Rabich / Wikimedia Commons / “Dülmen, Hausdülmen, Sonnenaufgang — 2015 — 4952” / CC BY-SA 4.0.

Published in Group Writing
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There are 24 comments.

  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    She: Which is all a roundabout way of saying that I’m not very good at passive-aggression, as (for better or worse) my behavior generally tends towards the denominator, rather than the numerator, of the fractional representation of the whole number that is my life. Passive-aggression, has just never been my style. Usually, if you’ve ticked me off, or (in my estimation) treated me poorly, you’ll hear about it from me directly. Doesn’t mean the rest of the world has to, though. If there’s a real point of contention at the center of our disagreement, hopefully we can sort it out between ourselves, without outside meddling. Hopefully. Because I was brought up to believe that’s how it’s done.

    I bottle it up; maybe for too long.

    Oh that my Pow’r to Saving were confin’d:
    Why am I forc’d, like Heav’n, against my mind,
    To make Examples of another Kind?
    Must I at length the Sword of Justice draw?
    Oh curst Effects of necessary Law!
    How ill my Fear they by my Mercy scan,
    Beware the Fury of a Patient Man.

    — John Dryden, “Absalom and Achitophel”

    If I begin to recite that in my head, hostilities are imminent.

    • #1
    • January 4, 2020, at 2:18 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  2. She Thatcher
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    She: Which is all a roundabout way of saying that I’m not very good at passive-aggression, as (for better or worse) my behavior generally tends towards the denominator, rather than the numerator, of the fractional representation of the whole number that is my life. Passive-aggression, has just never been my style. Usually, if you’ve ticked me off, or (in my estimation) treated me poorly, you’ll hear about it from me directly. Doesn’t mean the rest of the world has to, though. If there’s a real point of contention at the center of our disagreement, hopefully we can sort it out between ourselves, without outside meddling. Hopefully. Because I was brought up to believe that’s how it’s done.

    I bottle it up; maybe for too long.

    I wish you’d met my Dad. “bottling it up” was something that he was incapable of. A trait I think he did his best to pass along. And yes, probably for too long.

    Oh that my Pow’r to Saving were confin’d:
    Why am I forc’d, like Heav’n, against my mind,
    To make Examples of another Kind?
    Must I at length the Sword of Justice draw?
    Oh curst Effects of necessary Law!
    How ill my Fear they by my Mercy scan,
    Beware the Fury of a Patient Man.

    — John Dryden, “Absalom and Achitophel”

    If I begin to recite that in my head, hostilities are imminent.

    Great poem. Dryden really was a genius. Some may confuse it with “Archy and Mehitabel” but that’s on them.

    Sorry. I know my frames of reference are weird. But, they are what they are.

     

    • #2
    • January 4, 2020, at 2:24 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  3. Randy Webster Member

    She: saucy little minx Greta Thunberg,

    Your definition of “saucy little minx” seems to be a bit different from mine.

    • #3
    • January 4, 2020, at 3:12 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  4. She Thatcher
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    She: saucy little minx Greta Thunberg,

    Your definition of “saucy little minx” seems to be a bit different from mine.

    Well, ummm, perhaps my definition of “haha” is different from yours also.

    • #4
    • January 4, 2020, at 3:17 PM PST
    • 1 like
  5. Randy Webster Member

    James Gang: “Wintertime is a razor blade that the devil made it’s the price we pay for the summertime.”

    • #5
    • January 4, 2020, at 3:18 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  6. Randy Webster Member

    She (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    She: saucy little minx Greta Thunberg,

    Your definition of “saucy little minx” seems to be a bit different from mine.

    Well, ummm, perhaps my definition of “haha” is different from yours also.

    Probably not.

    • #6
    • January 4, 2020, at 3:23 PM PST
    • 1 like
  7. Mark Camp Member

    She: Naturally (I think I did mention that I’m British), this means that I am going to talk about the weather.

    Ouch. You got me.

    • #7
    • January 4, 2020, at 3:31 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  8. Vectorman Thatcher

    She: What can I give Him, poor as I am?
    If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
    If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
    Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

    This sounds like a precursor to “The Little Drummer Boy” that we had fun with last week.

    She: St. Agnes’ Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was

    St. Agnes’ Eve is January 20th, Inauguration Day every 4 years. Closer to a true Midwinter day in the Northern Hemisphere.

    • #8
    • January 4, 2020, at 6:47 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  9. SkipSul Member

    The weather here has been inconstant and muddy. No snow. No particularly good freeze, just endless sleety drizzle and mud. If it’s going to be winter, we should at least have winter, and not 50 shades of cold mud and penetrating damp.

    • #9
    • January 4, 2020, at 6:55 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  10. She Thatcher
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Vectorman (View Comment):

    She: What can I give Him, poor as I am?
    If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
    If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
    Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

    This sounds like a precursor to “The Little Drummer Boy” that we had fun with last week.

    She: St. Agnes’ Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was

    St. Agnes’ Eve is January 20th, Inauguration Day every 4 years. Closer to a true Midwinter day in the Northern Hemisphere.

    Yes, I think you’re right. I took my own little rant on that subject out before I pressed “publish.” Similar message; entirely different presentation. LDB sets my teeth on edge. I think of ITBM as LDB for grown-ups.

    • #10
    • January 5, 2020, at 5:38 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  11. She Thatcher
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Vectorman (View Comment):

    She: What can I give Him, poor as I am?
    If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
    If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
    Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

    This sounds like a precursor to “The Little Drummer Boy” that we had fun with last week.

    She: St. Agnes’ Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was

    St. Agnes’ Eve is January 20th, Inauguration Day every 4 years. Closer to a true Midwinter day in the Northern Hemisphere.

    I think that might be the most beautiful poem in the English language. I managed to nail the date, last year: https://ricochet.com/589922/archives/quote-of-the-day-lucent-syrops-tinct-with-cinnamon/

     

    • #11
    • January 5, 2020, at 5:40 AM PST
    • 1 like
  12. iWe Reagan
    iWe Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    She: And when I do whine, I try to whine at the person or people who are at the root of my dissatisfaction or unhappiness, or in the case of “things” that unsettle me, at the person or people who can actually do something about them. Thus my recent encounter with Highmark Insurance, who abruptly cancelled Mr. She’s Medicare Advantage plan because of “your failure to pay your bill for several months.” Big mistake. By the time I’d finished “whining” at them, I’d gotten matters corrected, his coverage reinstated and back-dated, and an abject and fulsome apology from the Assistant to the CEO.

    I love this part. Last week I tore apart the local Fedex staff who, for some inexplicable reason, thought it was a good idea to treat me abysmally (the best explanation I have is anti-white racism). I was incandescent. Occasionally it is nice to have a fight against idiiots just for the sheer deliciousness of it. Judging by your posts, I know you agree!

    • #12
    • January 5, 2020, at 6:15 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  13. She Thatcher
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    iWe (View Comment):
    Judging by your posts, I know you agree!

    Boy howdy, do I ever. The only thing that gripes me is the amount of time I have to spend sorting these nitwits out when I could be doing something more relaxing.

    I’ve written many letters for others, both in my personal life, and at work, where I was often tasked by others with writing to troublesome software vendors or incompetent bureaucrats, even outside my own area of responsibility, when someone wanted to be sure that their communication would be noticed and that something would be done about the matter at issue.

    Some choice passages from my second letter to Highmark’s CEO:

    The reason you give in your letter for terminating my husband’s coverage, that I “failed to pay plan premiums” is false. If you’re from Rio Linda, as Rush Limbaugh might say, that means you’re lying.

    [Payment dates and details of two $130 payments]. Both of them cleared my bank. That means you accepted my money. And that’s a total of $260. (I mention that in case you’re a victim of new math, and don’t know how to add.) Of course, I have documentation that those payments were made, and accepted, too.

    Therefore, once again, I wish to file a formal grievance over your unfair and dishonest practice here. I would like an acknowledgement, both by phone (immediately) and by mail, that you’ve received my request and started the process. I’m done wasting time calling you up and hanging out on hold while someone fiddles around and makes excuses and yanks my chain some more.

    I will be rounding up my documentation over the next couple of days and reporting your actions to whoever it is at the State level who sticks their nose into your business in what I suspect is an increasingly futile attempt to keep you on the up-and-up.

    Best regards. Have a happy and blessed holiday season.

    They cried “Uncle” shortly thereafter, in a phone call which basically ran:

     The President of Highmark is so, so sorry. Please accept his deepest apologies for the amount of your time that has been wasted on this. You were totally right. Please withdraw the formal grievance and don’t call anyone else. We have reinstated your husband with no lapse in coverage. It was all our fault. This never should have happened. Please withdraw the formal grievance and don’t call anyone else. Please call the President’s office if you ever have a problem on your husband’s account again, and we will be so, so, happy to help you. And, did we mention, please withdraw the formal grievance and don’t call anyone else.

    So much winning!

    • #13
    • January 5, 2020, at 6:38 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor

    She:

    My heart. That I am free to give it, or withhold it, at will. And that if I fall on the side of “give,” if there is warmth and love and kindness there, it doesn’t really matter what the little weather station on top of my bookcase reports about the dire and ugly situation outside. Nor does my success or failure rate in living up to, or living down, the expectations of others matter all that much, either. Inside my heart, there is love, there is gratitude, there is warmth, there is kindness, and there is truth. And through them, with them, and in them, I find I can vanquish the “bleak midwinter,” after all.

    Because in my heart, it’s always summer.

    Lovely. And can be true for each one of us.

    • #14
    • January 5, 2020, at 7:55 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  15. Kay of MT Member

    She (View Comment):
    The reason you give in your letter for terminating my husband’s coverage, that I “failed to pay plan premiums” is false. If you’re from Rio Linda, as Rush Limbaugh might say, that means you’re lying.

    You do understand She that I worked in Rio Linda for 15 years and detest Rush Limbaugh because he himself lied about Rio Linda. When he first came in 198? (4) Sacramento to work at KFBK Radio, he got lost in the outskirts of town and passed through Rio Linda, and saw a car in a driveway on blocks. Which he immediately designated Rio Linda was a hick town. And he hasn’t shut up about Rio Linda since.

    And we were not LIARS, because we either lived or worked in Rio Linda. It’s a pretty little rural town on the outskirts of Sacramento, you’d probably like it, sheep farmers, chicken farms, etc. Some really nice homes and ranches.

    I worked in social services and when we had our 25th anniversary of being there, we invited Rush to the party. We even sent him a T-shirt we had made up. He did not acknowledge the invitation, nor sent a thank-you for the shirt. Of course the motto on the shirt stated “We’d rather work in Rio Linda” stamped across an outhouse.

     

    • #15
    • January 5, 2020, at 11:16 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  16. Mark Camp Member

    A number of my readers have sent me messages–three by text, one by courier, and one by telegram–to ask me to weigh in on the Rio Linda controversy.

    I confess that I’ve been distracted recently by classical Cambodian poetry and the theory of Supply and Demand as expressed in tabular form by Israel Kirzner, and it seems that I failed to notice when the Rio Linda debate caught fire.

    I hope you all will give me a few days to catch up. My plan is to find out first what Rio Linda is, and then who Rush Limbaugh is, and finally to feed all the data into my computerized climate change model, running on my IBM Portable PC, and let you know the correct opinion on this urgent subject.

    • #16
    • January 5, 2020, at 11:38 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  17. She Thatcher
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    The reason you give in your letter for terminating my husband’s coverage, that I “failed to pay plan premiums” is false. If you’re from Rio Linda, as Rush Limbaugh might say, that means you’re lying.

    You do understand She that I worked in Rio Linda for 15 years and detest Rush Limbaugh because he himself lied about Rio Linda. When he first came in 198? (4) Sacramento to work at KFBK Radio, he got lost in the outskirts of town and passed through Rio Linda, and saw a car in a driveway on blocks. Which he immediately designated Rio Linda was a hick town. And he hasn’t shut up about Rio Linda since.

    And we were not LIARS, because we either lived or worked in Rio Linda. It’s a pretty little rural town on the outskirts of Sacramento, you’d probably like it, sheep farmers, chicken farms, etc. Some really nice homes and ranches.

    I worked in social services and when we had our 25th anniversary of being there, we invited Rush to the party. We even sent him a T-shirt we had made up. He did not acknowledge the invitation, nor sent a thank-you for the shirt. Of course the motto on the shirt stated “We’d rather work in Rio Linda” stamped across an outhouse.

    Yes, sweet Kay, I do understand that. But Rush Limbaugh, in one of his previous incarnations, was “Jeff Christie,” a Pittsburgh DJ I listened to in my misspent youth, and who I still have a soft spot for. (In addition, a former Ricochet member, and the only person I’ve ever known who was actually from the same “Cape Giradeau” area as the Limbaugh family says he’s a really good guy, so there’s that).

    To be clear, I was, in no way suggesting that RL folks are liars. I was just riffing on Rush’s humorous (I think) position that sometimes people in CA take themselves too seriously. Sorry if that was not clear.

    • #17
    • January 5, 2020, at 11:54 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  18. Mark Camp Member

    She (View Comment):

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    The reason you give in your letter for terminating my husband’s coverage, that I “failed to pay plan premiums” is false. If you’re from Rio Linda, as Rush Limbaugh might say, that means you’re lying.

    To be clear, I was, in no way suggesting that RL folks are liars. I was just riffing on Rush’s humorous (I think) position that sometimes people in CA take themselves too seriously. Sorry if that was not clear.

    This controversy is exploding…positions being taken, positions being attacked, events far outpacing my ability to keep up. (I have, however, completed some of the basic research. It turns out that Rio is a city in Latin America somewhere, and Linda was born and raised in the Philadelphia area, and was in my Social Studies class. Who knew?)

    It occurs to me that this would be a good occasion for some of you who have become overly dependent on reading my analyses on every new national issue to spread your wings and jump out of the nest, so to speak. Study the issue thoroughly, using the Think method which I’ve taught you, and reach your own conclusions.

     

    • #18
    • January 5, 2020, at 12:16 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  19. Jim Beck Member

    Evening She,

    My wife if from Bicester, near Oxford, and it is true that it is not a cold, but it has a shorter day. The sun or more accurately the light starts late and if you could see the sun it would barely rise above the horizon and then by 5 it is dark. A short, damp, cold (no central air just gravity heating), day, dimly lit. Winter in England would encourage more drink, or at least listening to old tapes of the Goon Show.

    • #19
    • January 5, 2020, at 4:28 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  20. Mark Camp Member

    Jim Beck (View Comment):

    Evening She,

    My wife if from Bicester, near Oxford, and it is true that it is not a cold, but it has a shorter day. The sun or more accurately the light starts late and if you could see the sun it would barely rise above the horizon and then by 5 it is dark. A short, damp, cold (no central air just gravity heating), day, dimly lit. Winter in England would encourage more drink, or at least listening to old tapes of the Goon Show.

    Triple like, minimum.

    • #20
    • January 5, 2020, at 4:51 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  21. SkipSul Member

    Jim Beck (View Comment):

    Evening She,

    My wife if from Bicester, near Oxford, and it is true that it is not a cold, but it has a shorter day. The sun or more accurately the light starts late and if you could see the sun it would barely rise above the horizon and then by 5 it is dark. A short, damp, cold (no central air just gravity heating), day, dimly lit. Winter in England would encourage more drink, or at least listening to old tapes of the Goon Show.

    • #21
    • January 5, 2020, at 6:29 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  22. SkipSul Member

    • #22
    • January 5, 2020, at 6:29 PM PST
    • 1 like
  23. SkipSul Member

    And of course, my favorite:

    • #23
    • January 5, 2020, at 6:30 PM PST
    • 1 like
  24. She Thatcher
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jim Beck (View Comment):

    Evening She,

    My wife if from Bicester, near Oxford,

    A likely story. Let me hear you pronounce it (kidding).

    and it is true that it is not a cold, but it has a shorter day. The sun or more accurately the light starts late and if you could see the sun it would barely rise above the horizon and then by 5 it is dark. A short, damp, cold (no central air just gravity heating), day, dimly lit. Winter in England would encourage more drink, or at least listening to old tapes of the Goon Show.

    Yes, it’s easy to forget, in view of its relatively temperate climate, that the UK is North of all the 48 contiguous states, and that the days do get much shorter in the winter. Mr. She and I spent the Christmas holiday there in 2001, and there were still roses blooming in the garden of the lovely old bed-and-breakfast we stayed at, but it was no warmer inside than outside, so yes, drink! And not just tea. And wool!

    Granny disapproved of The Goon Show, so my memories of it are from records (Mum loved “I’m Walking Backwards for Christmas”). Granny had a soft spot for the more respectable side of Harry Secombe, though, and we were allowed to listen to him.

     

     

    • #24
    • January 6, 2020, at 12:42 AM PST
    • 2 likes