Oh, where is the winter?
The other day I walked to the campus for a morning lecture. It had been raining all night heavily and the sky was still leaking. I have to cross railway tracks on my way so there are only few routes I can take to Uni. Soon after crossing the tracks I ran into a nasty surprise. My way was blocked by a water obstacle. There was no opposite shore to be seen, the brown liquid had invaded the whole road. I had no time to go back and take a longer route via another crossing. So I tried to go around the ocean. After getting stuck to a hawthorn bushes that guarded the other side of it I had to change my approach. So I started waddling through the muddy ocean, carefully so that my thirsty ankle high rubber boots would not drink the water. It was a struggle as there were unexpected holes on the poorly paved road. Finally I made it to the Uni, and when I walked home leaning to drizzling headwind I chose the long way home.
Even though Scotland and Finland have similar weather, winter in Scotland is no winter. The summer is similar to Finnish summer, some sunshine, some warm days, few hot days, some rain, green vegetation… The autumn follows the familiar pattern as well. Lots of rain, grey sky, colourful leaves that drop down after a little storm, short days… The difference however is that autumn in Scotland lasts until spring and spring in Scotland comes early.
But the winter. Where did the winter disappear? The temperature does not drop below zero more than few times during the winter months. The water comes down as rain and occasionally as sleet. There is no nice snow cover on the ground, just mud and puddles. No cold freezing days, just cold and damp weeks. Okay I have to admit that these past few days have been gorgeous. I have seen some blue sky and even spotted the sun few times.
One day when I checked the forecast and saw that it was going to rain the following six days my flatmate said: “better rain than snow”. No, no! People do not know what snow is if they think that it is that wet slush on the ditch. I didn’t used to like winter that much when I was a kid, because it meant that I had to wear several layers of clothing and wool shirts, had to ski and cope with short days. However, now I enjoy winter a lot. I need the snow, the light that it brings and the beautiful landscape it creates. I even like cross-country skiing nowadays. That is why I was so happy to spent six weeks in Finland over the Christmas. There was proper winter with real snow. +4C feels like summer after -30C.
Of course norther parts of Scotland experience a little more wintery winter than we here in the middle of the country. Here it can’t be a real winter as long as the swans stay at the loch and the fields are green and grassy. I thought it better to buy pair of wellies for my winter boots. Waterproof is what we need here in Scotland during the winter months.