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Blog : Posts tagged with 'cold'

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Photo Post Of The Weekend

In which we remember Latvia


All that snowy weather we’ve been having – almost all gone now, apart from the enormous pile of snow cleared from the office car park – reminded me of the holiday we took a couple of years back, to Rīga, Latvia. “Make sure you wrap up warmly,” said The Mother. “Get proper thermals. Lots and lots of layers.” “You’ll need to take sunglasses, too,” said Dad, “or you’ll get snow-blindness.”

All of which we ignored, fortunately, because we’d have looked bloody silly. Rīga in February was not too dissimilar from Britain in February, being grey, damp, and largely snow-free; it shouldn’t really have been surprising, because it’s on about the same latitude as Dundee. We took plenty of photos; but for some reason they never appeared on here.*

Baltic Revolution Memorial, 11. novembra krastmela, Rīga

View of Rīga

Museum Of The Occupation, Rīga

Latvijas Zin?tņu akadēmija (Latvian Academy of Sciences), Turgeņeva iela, Rīga

Daugava river and railway bridge, Rīga

* Unlike the above anecdote about the snow-blindness, etc, which definitely has.

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Talking of time travellers…

In which we analyse a police suggestion


Ah, snow. You can’t beat it for sending people a bit mad and panicked. Yesterday the roads were gridlocked for half an hour at lunch time, because of the number of people who rushed home at the fall of the first flake. Last night, the news was full of dire warnings. Don’t travel if you don’t have to. Stock up your car. Make sure you take a shovel, blankets, a flask of tea, a flask of soup, sandwiches, cakes, a propane stove,* three woolly jumpers and the complete works of Proust, because you never know when you might get stuck.

I was particularly impressed, though, by the words of one of the local police spokesmen interviewed on last night’s news. “If you wake up in the morning and your car’s all frosted up,” I’m fairly sure he said, “you should get up 30 or 45 minutes early and make sure it’s completely defrosted before you set off.” It took me a minute to spot the flaw in the statement – assuming I’m not misremembering what he actually said. I think it’s a pretty good plan, though.

* Not a butane stove, because – as hardy campers will know – its boiling point at standard pressure is just below freezing. In cold weather, butane stoves get sluggish, give up and go to sleep. To cope with chills you need propane.

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Notes on Riga (part 2)

In which we’re warm on holiday


“Ooh, how are you going to cope with the weather,” everyone said, when I told them I was going to Riga. “You’d better get some warm clothes.”

So I went out, shopping. I bought an all-enveloping thick wooly jumper (in the sale, Burtons in Middlesbrough) and a rather nice brown wool coat (in the sale, Debenhams at the Metro Centre), and, well, that was it. “That’s no good,” said The Mother. “You should have been going to sports shops. You should have got some skiing clothes, lots of layers, something waterproof, make sure you’re properly insulated.”

“Have you packed any sunglasses?” said Dad. “You’ll need sunglasses if you’re going somewhere like that in winter, otherwise you’ll get snow-blindness.”

“That’s a nice coat,” said someone at work. And then she laughed. “You’re going to freeze if you’re wearing that to Riga.”

Take a moment to spot the common theme here. Lots and lots of advice, on what to wear, from people who have never ever been east of Margate.* We do have a Resident Pole in the office, though, who has travelled up that way, and she thought I’d be fine. “I always think it feels colder here,” she said, “than on the Baltic. It’s something about the dampness here.”

And, it turns out, she was almost right. It was certainly damp and grey in Riga, with overcast skies most days, and sometimes a fine misty rain; but it didn’t feel any colder than Britain in winter. No frost, no snow. Chunks of ice floating on the river and the City Canal, but otherwise just like home. If I’d taken skiing clothes, I’d have melted.** As for needing sunglasses – the thought still makes K giggle.

* Well, The Mother went to the Dalmatian coast in 1972, but that doesn’t exactly count.

** One thing we found: every building in Riga, every shop, museum and restaurant, keeps the heating turned up on full blast. On the other hand, when you come inside wrapped up for winter, you’re expected to take your clothes off. All the museums we visited had free cloakrooms at the door, and restaurants and cafes all have communal coat-racks that everyone happily uses.

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The Last Days Of Winter

In which we encapsulate things


Still recovering from my awful, hacking-cough cold. For The Mother, who thinks I have had bronchitis continuously since August, this is more evidence that I am leading a terribly dissolute lifestyle and need to stop having sex, stay indoors watching TV, and go to bed at 9pm every night just like she does.

In lieu of a proper entry, it’s time for One-Line Album Reviews. Hurrah! In which, FP tries to come up with pithy lines about some of the albums he’s bought recently.*

The Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club, The Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club: you can’t hum it, the same as you can’t pronounce the name after a few gin and tonics very easily; but it’s some good, chunky angular music to listen to in the car.

The Aliens, Astronomy For Dogs: Like The Beta Band doing rock, which isn’t too surprising really. Rather good.

Gossip, Standing In The Way Of Control: A bit much hype involved, which (also) isn’t surprising really. It’s not a bad album, but they’re not as good as, say, The Kills.

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, The Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager: Note to self: unlike TVEGC (see above), do not put this on in the car. You will fall asleep, probably at a busy motorway intersection, and kill hundreds of innocent pensioners on a coach en route to Southend.

And that’s most definitely enough of that.

* thus ruling out all the dronerock the Dronerock Fairy has been sending this way. Although the forthcoming Blonde Redhead album is rather good. Erm, so I hear.

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The seaside

In which FP catches something


It was Scarborough that did it.

We had a lovely day, walking up and down the prom, eating candy floss in the car,* going up and down the cliff lift, avoiding the waves that were splashing up over the edge of the prom and over the road: the sea looked like an over-full bathtub. But it was the cold, biting wind, that left me feeling half-asleep and jammed up for the past couple of days, left me wishing I could stay tucked up in bed asleep for a week.

* so it didn’t blow away

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Sickness

In which FP may have caught something


Bleurgh. Cold. All blocked up. Runny nose. No appetite. Can’t stop sneezing.

Don’t think I’ve been near any seabirds lately, though…

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Bitter

In which we go for a walk


Went for a walk on the beach today, to try out a new camera lens.* I’m told that brisk exertion can be good when you’re feeling down; and struggling through the biting wind across the dunes always seems to leave me more cheerful than I was before. When I was too tired for the sand, I moved down and walked along the firm mud at the edge of the saltmarsh instead.

Even at half a mile, the roar of the breaking waves was a loud, constant growl. I stood and watched ships lining up and waiting to be piloted upriver, and tried to take photos of the changing weather.

(as they are on film, you’ll have to wait)

* Nikkor AF 35-70mm 1:3.3-4.5, if you care – an early 90s model, I think. I can never understand Nikon lens ranges. I don’t normally go for zoom lenses either, but it was only £35.

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Shiver

In which FP gets ill just as it’s in the news


In today’s news, top scientists have discovered that being a bit chilly does indeed help you catch colds. For me, it’s a timely discovery; on Saturday I started to feel a bit wobbly at the edges,* and I spent most of Sunday in bed, sneezing, sinuses blocked, hoping my fuzzy headache would clear itself. I’m blaming the rather ill-planned heating arrangements in my office. It does have a radiator, but at the far end of the room to my desk, which may as well be 1,000 miles further north as far as I can tell. Every ten minutes I have to walk to the far end of the room to warm my numb fingers, so I can keep typing.

The Mother was pleased by the news: “Look! See! Mothers are right when they tell you things!” I tried to point out that she had always said the exact opposite when I was small. If I looked at all sniffly on the day of a PE lesson, I’d be told: “getting out there on the field will do you good – the cold will kill all the bugs off.”

* and it wasn’t a hangover, before you ask

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Atishoo

In which I am ill


I had planned to write a long serious music-review post, but as my head is all fuzzed up and I can’t stop sneezing, that’s off the menu. No constructive thought from me today.

If you haven’t read it already, I recommend this post from Gordon McLean. It’s about the USA, and it expresses a lot of what I’ve also been thinking about that place recently.

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