Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Rumination: Winter's Long Twitching Tail

28/02 Morley Station creates its own Snow Trap.
As we finally reach the leading edge of Spring, It's a good time to let out a small revelation, confessing publically the fact that I actually enjoy Winter weather, at least when it has the decency to arrive in the cold and dark days of December and January, the corner of the year that it can linger on in without you getting the feeling that the season isn't turning around quickly enough. What I don't like is when the worst of the Winter weeks appear to have passed, allowing the walking season to get underway and for the mind to fill with the anticipation of Spring, and then the long twitching tail of Winter weather lashes again and again to make everyday life miserable and to test the patience as you try to keep body and mind inspired when the reality of Spring being just around the corner seems to be doubtful. This where we sit right about now, having endured the bout of snow that came with The Beast from The East, which fell and lingered from 28th February through to the 4th March, which arrived too late to trap me on a work related sojourn to Seacroft Hospital, but gave me a couple of distinctly challenging trips into work, with the fierce wind from the east making Morley station even colder than normal, and frozen train units at Huddersfield causing some alarming delays to the ride to Leeds. That turned out to be a cold snap that at least managed to be short enough to not disrupt the walking day, with the wind settling down and the ice being soft enough to walk on securely and not cause difficulties, the rapid thaw off on the Sunday returning us to some semblance of normality quickly, and for all the chill and disruption that came along, we pushed through because we are hardy types nowadays.

28/02 There's Nothing quite like the City under a Snow Blanket.

However, when the tail lashed again, on morning of 8th March, it brought all sorts of fun and games with it, catching out just about everyone off-guard, from the weather forecasters and the council road gritters downwards, with a heavy blanket having landed all over the town without anyone having made any anticipation of it, causing pretty much everybody a lot of trouble getting into work. Trouble in Morley was due to the fact that Albert Road was up for remedial work, meaning that Station Road was completely choked with snow, that thick, wet kind that piles up quickly and causes vehicles to get stuck very rapidly, so whilst all I had to do was plough through it to get to my train, just about everywhere else had a severe transportation crisis as the buses failed to run on just about every route off the main roads in Leeds, whilst despite the weather I managed to depart my flat and roll into work at the correctly appointed times. Just as bizarrely as the chaos the snow wrought in the morning, by the end of the day, it had almost completely vanished, another rapid thaw having returned us to the feeling of late winter, that meant that getting out on the weekend required no risk of ice walking at all, though the low temperatures did me no favours at all, giving me quite a chill that had settled into something unpleasant on my chest and throat by the end of the weekend.

08/03 Station Road, Morley, is a Winter Wonderland!

08/03 These Hardy Travellers will get the Work on time!

But I toiled through, not least because March is never a good time to try to take time off work as most of the other staff still have days of annual leave, so the pace of labour dropped a bit, and I chatted a whole lot less than normal, but getting to feel normal again for the weekend of the 17th always felt like a bit of a stretch, so when winter struck again and the temperatures plummeted, staying in bed was surely to be the only option. The light dusting of snow on the Saturday morning would have been no fun to contend with when not feeling 100% and certainly not primed for a day out of doors, but once the evening brought heavy snowfall, the only honest feeling to express would have to be 'Oh, Fuck this Noise!', as another couple of inches came down and lingered on through the Sunday making my trip to Morrisons that bit more fraught than usual. I don't know why we act so surprised when Winter weather arrives late in the season, for was it not only 5 years ago that the Arctic blast landed a covering of snow and brought improbably low temperatures that lingered all the way to the second weekend of April? Anyway, I'm going through a period of semi hibernation as the early walking season has been halted, and I'm going to wait until Spring has sprung again, staying away from the trail and recalling the equally improbable high temperatures that came around at the start of Spring 6 years back, before heading over to Manchester on Saturday 24th with my closest friends for feeding (at El Gato Negro) and music (at the Bridgewater Hall, the BBC Phil doing Copland, Korngold and Vaughan Williams), hopeful that Spring will be sprung when I travel to the Old Country in the following week!

17/03 The view from my window,
and I've had enough of this now!

Next Up: Down Country for Easter Week, hoping that Spring is there.

EDIT: And even then, the long tail of 2018's Winter managed to arrive one more time, dumping a load on the city on Easter Monday, 2nd April, an experience I mostly missed thanks to the fact that I was travelling back up country through the afternoon, only getting sight of the snow whilst passing through North Derbyshire and Sheffield, and arriving in Leeds and Morley to see its remnants getting washed away by the most wintery of rainfalls. I've honestly had enough of Winter now, Spring cannot come soon enough.

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