It is precisely at this moment that I consider it winter. The clocks have done their thing, central heating is on a timer, logs have been ordered for the wood burner and our wardrobes have jumpers at the top and flip flops chucked untidily to the back - where they will stay for what seems a very long time. We have moved over to the dark side. The garden is soggy. The new spring bulbs lay dry in their packets, unopened, and I am struggling to get the motivation to work the cold sodden earth so as to enjoy a colourful display come March. It's hard to imagine that spring will ever be upon us again.
I hate the winter. I know that's a strong statement, but really, I do. And it feels especially cruel this year due to our useless excuse for a summer. The seasons are blurring.
One year we avoided the dark side completely. Before children and careers, he and I moved to Spain. Possibly for a month, maybe indefinitely - we stayed for over a year. We decided on Seville in the south, a beautiful, conservative city known for its excellent tapas, wonderful ferias, the best Semana Santa (Easter) full of tradition, wonder and pretty much sun year-round. We arrived in November with a rucksack and a phrase book, straight off the bus and into a hustling, bustling tapas bar - running to avoid the downpour. It seemed we couldn't escape the weather completely. Inside the condensation ran down the windows, most people standing, around barrels or along the long bar, ordering small plates of local delicacies washed down with respectable sized glasses of wine and wee halves of beer.
After that first night, I only remember sun. Hot sun, medium sun, really bloody freezing cold - but sun. It was the brightness that kept us happy for over a year, everyday you could sit outside and 'tomar algo' (take something to eat or drink), everyday was a sunglasses day and a people watching day, we were on the beach in March and we left it in October.
A much more civilised way of being.