There are pros and cons to living this far north in the winter. The biggest con is of course the lack of daylight, with the sun effectively starting to set just after it’s risen (9.00 am at this time of year). On the other hand, we do get some very spectacular sunrises and sunsets. On a clear morning the sunrise can last over half an hour, the sky filled from horizon to horizon with vibrant streaks of red and gold (or “God’s nosebleed”, as I like to think of it).
I was off last week on holiday and a cold promptly invaded me like a barbarian horde, so in fact I spent quite a lot of my time in bed with a chest infection, practicing my wheezing. It felt as though an invisible cat was sleeping on my chest, and I discovered my inner 80 year-old every time I climbed the stairs. (It’s back to work this week, so of course I feel much better.)
I probably got sick from the weather. In the last week we’ve gone from temperatures of -2º to +10ºC, and from blizzards to blue skies. In fact, the only constant has been the gusts of 70-80mph, and if Mary Poppins ever tried to pay us a visit, odds are she’d end up somewhere over Norway before she could say “spit-spot”. (Out of curiosity I just looked it up the Norwegian for “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”; apparently it’s “superoptikjempefantafenomenalistisk”. You’re welcome.)
Still, one thing about being ill, but not too ill, is that you can knit and spray yourself with mucus at the same time (I believe it’s called multi-tasking). So I’ve got rather a lot of knitting done in the last few days, as you’ll see from the photographs. The body’s plain as far as the yoke, and plain knitting always goes quickly; I’m trying to knit a little looser than I usually do, but I’m still slightly stunned at how well it’s going. Maybe I should be sick more often?
And it’ll soon be Christmas. We went to get our tree on Saturday, a six-foot monster all the way from Dunnet Forest. Manhandling it into the house felt a bit like teaching a yeti how to waltz, and now it looms in our lounge, massive as a troll from a Harry Potter movie (albeit a very twinkly troll), exuding a scent of pine so strong it’s like living in an air freshener commercial. I think it’s living on woodlice careless enough to venture in reach of its branches.
See you next week for the last blog before the Christmas break—by which time the solstice will have passed, and the nights will already be getting longer (who said I was a pessimist?). Now it’s time to go toss the yule log and go deck someone with a bough of holly, or whatever the damn’ custom is…