Monday, December 1, 2008

Winter - photos by Owen Higgens

So I thought it was cold in October, and nothing really prepared us for this winter - you see the thing is being in an apartment for the last 8 years with neighbours all around us, we were known as heat thieves, we hardly every had to put our heating on because everyone else around us did. But now that we are in the house we are feeling the cold, and to me it really does feel like the coldest winter we have had in 8 years, yes this is our eighth winter in Ireland. Also being so close to the mountains and the forest does add to it being extra cold.

The last few days have been really really cold, and Saturday we woke up to ice, outside - I will post a picture here once I have downloaded them, in the meantime Owen took some brilliant photographs which I am going to post one or two here, but you can see all his photographs either by clicking the link Owen Higgens .

This morning while driving to work I had to be really careful, it was -1 when I left home at 7 this morning and there was black ice on the road, in my own little world I was wondering, how people managed to keep warm before we had the modern day living, especially the tribes. I had this vision in my head of a Zulu warrior with his animal skins over him, because even though Africa is hot, it gets damn cold in winter. But the animal skins did not completely cover him and there was a lot exposed to the elements, yes they built fires and had their huts but did they feel the cold like we do.

Are we just spoilt that we have central heating, blankets, cardigans, coats and all kinds of stuff to keep us warm that we have become too protected, and should we not have these anymore we would certainly die of cold. Whereas if our bodies became a bit tougher to the elements we would be stronger and not get sick etc.

I then started thinking back to my school days when I was a girl guide and how for some reason we only seemed to go camping in the winter, two camps came to mind one was in Louis Trichard back in 1975 OR '76 when 500 guides got together and we had a rally at a guys farm. It was July / August - the coldest months of the year in South Africa, we had to sleep in Bell tents and the farmers animals would roam around the camp and drop land mines right outside the door, especially the sheep. But I remember leaving a bottle of water next to me and waking up the next morning to find it frozen.

The other camp was also on a farm in Irene, near Pretoria, also in July - it was so cold that we sewed blankets inside our sleeping bags and in between the blankets we put in newspaper, because someone said to us, why do you think the hobos all put newspaper over them when they go to sleep, because newspaper is warm and it acts like an insulator and traps the heat in. I think that was the last time I ever went camping in Winter mind you - not so brave anymore.

Well hopefully we will get snow this year on Christmas day! By the way our grass was still frozen at Midday today, so I guess it did not go much above freezing.

One of the photos here that Owen took, is the forest behind where we live it's probably just a mile up the road.

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