Thursday, January 26, 2017

Real Winter Wonders

As most of you know by now, I hate winter. I endure it because, well, there's no other choice, but in the world of wishes and dreams, I'd be the sort of creature that hibernates until spring. Alternatively, I would have the time, freedom and money to spend my winters somewhere that it isn't - winter, that is.   But wishes and dreams are what these will remain, and so I have to resort to my fall back position and endure.

This winter has been/is being proper cold! Quite a shock to the system after a few years where wet and windy have been the overriding features of our flatland Januaries. We've been having sub zero temperatures overnight for a couple of weeks now and it's not been much over freezing during the day. This means a few things (some of the time) that I do like: 

Sunshine! Yes, beautiful, cloudless blue skies with lots of glowy golden light! I also like the fact that even when it's cloudy, Dutch skies nearly always have a lightness to them and I never feel oppressed by the weight and density of the cloud cover the way I used to in England. The flatness has its own beauty in the cold weather. The endless horizons have a kind of mystical quality and in the evening light when the haze starts to rise, it is magical.

The rooftops of Leiden
Mist. Some days there's too much of this and it's simply fog, but I like it when it hovers over the ground in the mornings and you can see the sun through it. It usually means it will be a nice day later on. On other days when it's not so thick, it just drifts in layers over the fields, which is lovely.

Ice! When the ponds and ditches freeze over, it isn't long before we see the Dutch doing what they are born to do, and that's skating. I can't skate myself, but I love watching the way the Dutch relish and enjoy the ice. Whole families get their skates on and go out to play, even tiny toddlers, and of course the dogs go too. It is a wonderful sight, a real celebration of winter at its best.



Last weekend, we went for a walk in and around Willemstad with my daughter and her man. The ice skaters were out in force, the sun was shining and it was a truly beautiful winter's day. If that is what the real cold brings, then it will do for me. I cannot wait for winter to pass, but this at least I can appreciate. I hope the sun is shining wherever you are!



13 comments:

  1. I have on a couple of occasions attempted to skate on ice and spent most of my time in the horizontal position - enough said on that.
    Winter has only recently become a season that I now dread, it must be due to my ageing I think. For there were times when I would enjoy a good walk in the winds and in my youth I would some times go for a hike and take a tent with me for an over-nighter - but not anymore. Today I am a fire spaniel.

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    1. I don't blame you, Mel. I am most of the time, but I am also aware I need to get out for walks or cabin fever strikes! Keep warm!

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  2. I've recently discovered an Old English word that describes some of the weather we were having before Christmas. I guess you have it there, too. It's called mizzle!

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    1. Ah yes! Mizzle is indeed a word used in Dutch. It's not an official word, I think, or I don't know how to spell it, but I often hear it used on the weather forecast to describe damp, dreary weather!

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  3. What a beautiful sight to see people skating on frozen waterways, something I have only seen a couple of times in my life! I have been wondering how you ever keep warm enough living on a boat when the temperatures are that low. With modern technology, ice skating is available here in Brisbane and today our son and grandson got themselves away from the heat and humidity for a few hours of cold and skating. They had great fun :)

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    1. Patricia, keeping warm on the boat is not so hard as long as I can keep my feet warm :) Yes, the ice skating is great isn't it? I remember my girls skating in the heat of a South African summer too!

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  4. Ah - it's like a Brueghel (can that spelling be right? It doesn't look it...) painting. Like you, I don't like winter, especially cold, dank foggy days when the sun never seems to rise.

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    1. The grey skies can be a killer too, can't they, Stephanie?

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  5. It's my first visit to your blog, what lovely images you have here.
    I feel for you in the cold, and hope you have a nice wood burning stove aboard your boat?

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    1. Thank you, Maria! i'm so glad you liked my photos. I have a lovely stove in my boat, yes, and it keeps me nice and toasty warm. Do you live on the water too?

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    2. No, i live in a traditional house, but I do like boats. Only this morning I went to a local lock where they have a nice cafe overlooking the water. There were many barges and house boats there.
      It was bitterly cold and raining, so my daughter and I sat inside for breakfast. on a better day, we would have been outside admiring the water crafts and speaking to anyone who wanted to pass the time of day with us.

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  6. The good news is it is going to start warming up. I don't mind that but Sophie is less happy.

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    1. I think you are more important on this occasion, Stu!

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