For fifteen months I have cycled to work most days.
No great distance.
10 miles each way, sometimes longer when a fine evening has tempted me to stretch the trip home.
Despite working mostly from an office, for fifteen months I have been wonderfully aware of the weather.
And so this morning, for the first time since January, I was aware of winter.
Bitterly cold. Beautiful.
I felt so alive.
In a car, bus, train, or even walking, you can avoid the cold.
Not on a bike.
With a constant 15 – 20 mph wind all weather is exaggerated, none more so than the cold.
Good gloves, hilarious overshoes, and merino base layers all do their bit to keep your core warm. Your face though takes it all in.
And it’s an amazing feeling I wouldn’t ever want to avoid.
Lying in my super comfortable Travelodge bed I can tell if a morning is frosty, or even snowy, by the amount of light creeping around the curtains when it should be dark.
This morning it was so bright I expected snow, but it was just a heavy frost.
The roads were slick, slippery in places, and on the lanes I was treated to any number of tiny birds frantically flying from cover in search of breakfast.
A stoat crossed my path, undulating as if he were a rollercoaster. But then again he could have been a weasel.
And all the way into work I dreamt of Cornwall.
Of the beautiful and dramatic changes that winter brings.
It’s an exciting time of such extremes.
Rarely does it freeze, but we do have wild storms.
The beaches are empty, and only the hardy venture into the waters.
The Christmas Day Swim at Sennen is a must, even if you only watch. The excitement is palpable, the anticipation of the cold water on naked skin, the screams of shock, and for the mad ones, joy.
Then, after that bracing walk, or even swim, heading back inside is all the more rewarding.
The log burners roaring and pumping glorious dry heat into our well insulated rooms.
Ideally some slow cooked stew, chilli or curry has scented the house and will soon fill our bellies.
Heavy red wines.
Steaming cups of tea.
The sofa is more comfortable, the blankets more inviting, and bed, oh let me lie in bed the whole night through – if only there were a fire place in the bedroom!
Even friends and family seem closer, more lovely. Precious.
Bring me winter, let it fill me with joy.
At least until the excitement of the first buds of spring.