So, I've been out of the house for the day and guys, it's pretty bleak out there. It was barely four o'clock in the afternoon when I got back and it was already dark. The rain was coming down, mixed with hail, making it both wet and cold. The wind was blowing a gale. In short, the weather outside really is frightful.
But the fire is SO delightful.
It would be really easy to get down in the dumps, when it's dark, cold and rainy. But I've been thinking a lot about a Manic Street Preachers lyric, today:
"We love the Winter. It brings us closer together."
In spite of the rain, the chilly temperature and the darkness, I do have a soft spot for Winter. Because, as much as there are few things worse than having to stand around in cold, damp air, feeling your fingers turn to ice and your hair blowing so wildly around your face that you end up looking like an extra from a Bonnie Tyler video, there are few things nicer than being all cosy in the warm, whilst the storm swirls outside.
There are so many things to like about this time of year. Sure, we could get angry about the extra time it takes to de-ice the car before we can drive to work in the morning, but have you ever stopped to look at how beautiful the world looks, when it's sprinkled with early morning frost? Have you ever looked at the patterns ice makes on the back of a frozen leaf? Yes, I know I'm sounding a bit hippy-dippy, here, but bear with me. There really are a lot of lovely things about this time of year.
I say this as someone who has suffered from a touch of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Week after week of rain, getting up for work in the dark and arriving home the same way, grey days without a ray of sunshine in sight and of course, in January, you have more of the same, without the promise of Christmas being just around the corner. I can certainly understand why this time of year can have its downside.
Convenient excuse for wet Tennant...
But I agree with the Manics. There's something about the Winter that really does bring us together. Whether it's celebrating Christmas with family and friends, or just moaning to your workmates about how bloody cold the weather has been lately, Winter really can forge a sense of togetherness that's sometimes missing through the rest of the year.
Getting in from the cold, switching the heating on, curling up on the sofa with a cuppa... Few things are cosier than that feeling of knowing you're home, warm and dry. I'm one of those people who can quite happily lie in bed at night, listening to rain beating against the window, thinking: "Ha! And I'm snug as a bug under this massive Winter duvet. Emma 1 - Weather 0."
And then of course, there's Christmas. I am a massive child when it comes to that.
Christmas has always been the very best thing about this time of year, as far as I'm concerned. When I'm Christmas shopping, it's literally the only time the Heavens can open and I can be soaked to the bone and not give a fudge, because I'm solely focused on getting wonderful presents that'll make the people I love the most smile. The shops are warm, there are Christmas songs playing, fairy lights twinkling everywhere and all the people around me are doing the exact same thing as I am. "We love the Winter, it brings us closer together" in action.
There's something about being together as a family, drinking Bucks Fizz for breakfast, playing stupid games and watching Christmas telly that can make you feel warm, even when the temperature outside is in minus figures. And I bloody love that.
Like I said, I know this time of year is hard for a lot of people, for a whole host of reasons and I completely understand that - I've found it difficult enough myself, at times. But maybe I'm making an early New Year's Resolution to be more positive.
You see endless rain, I see a good excuse to stay in and watch cheesy Christmas movies.
You see temperatures dropping, I see the perfect reason for a glass of hot mulled wine.
You say potato, I say... Well, potato. Nobody says po-tah-to.
I've been home for over an hour, now. Outside, it's completely dark and the streetlights are twinkling against the night sky. The rain is still falling and the wind is picking up. But the kitchen is warming up nicely as dinner cooks, the dog is snuggled up in his bed and I'm planning to make a festive playlist on my iPad, to listen to on the way to work on Tuesday (because once it's December, I can go all out Christmassy). In short, it might be cold outside, but it's lovely and snug inside.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
You know, as long as it doesn't cause too much travel disruption... ;)
* * *
Looking for a Christmas gift for the child in your life? My new children's book, Seven Days With The Cherry Tree Gang is out now and you can buy it here!