Maybe some of you will remember that I wrote a post, barely 6 months ago, which was entitled, ‘In Praise of Winter’. And, for those of you who don’t remember, or who would like a refresher, or just like to click on things, here is the link to said post, so you can go and check on what I’ve said and see that I’m not lying: http://ohtheplacesyoullgoireland.blogspot.com/2011/10/in-praise-of-winter.html
Basically, it was a snooty little piece telling people they had it all wrong, and that winter was the best season in the whole year, and I was far superior to everyone, as I had recognised this and no-one else had, and I then proceeded to list my reasons as to why I was right and everybody else was wrong.
Or, something like that anyway.
So, you may be surprised to read this post, in which I declare that, actually, I was completely wrong and everyone else has always been right. About everything.
Now, before you gloat (Liam, I am looking particularly at you… well, not AT you, but, more, nodding through cyber space at you…) I still maintain that I do like winter. And I also maintain that I’m still not a fan of scorching hot days and sun burn and sweat patches, and humidity that basically inhibits your brain function, so that instead of being able to read/write James Joyce, Balzac and Tolstoy type masterpieces, you’re reduced to conversation of the monosyllabic variety.
But, I will concede that a sunny, balmy day is a delightful thing.
Let me also clarify for the Australians in the audience. A sunny, balmy day for me is now something of the 17 – 18 degree variety. This is perfectly lovely weather, in which you do not need to wear jumpers, stockings, jackets, gloves or scarves. You can wander around the city unencumbered by swathes of material. I know, I know, just 6 months ago I was essentially saying that wrapping yourself in loads of mismatching crazy materials was as close to heaven as it is possible to get in this world, but, after 6 months straight of the same jacket, the same scarf, the same gloves, it starts to get old.
What can I say? I’m just fickle. And easily bored. My Year 8 Science teacher once told us that we had the attention span of an ad break during the Simpsons, which, apart from being one of the more ingenious insults a teacher has ever dealt me, had more than a kernel of truth for myself and, if I may be so bold, many of my generation. One of the problems I have had with, say, choosing a career, is that I’d think, ‘Oh, medicine! Oh, that would be great! You know, problem-solving, and saving people’s lives, and wearing a white jacket, and looking at X-rays, oh yeah, I’d really enjoy that,’ but then I’d think about being a doctor 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year, for the rest of my life and I’d go, ‘Oh, yeah, but I think I’d probably get bored after a few months.’ And, after 8 or 9 years of training, you don’t really want to get bored after a few months. This process was repeated for essentially every single career I ever considered or was asked to consider by my superiors. ‘Oh, yeah, train driving! That’d be really exciting! For, like, a day.’
ANYWAY, the point I was trying to make, before I so rudely got in my own way, was that I’m terribly fickle, and whilst 6 months ago I would have confidently told you that winter was my favourite season, and I didn’t really like the summer, and I’ve never had a great desire to go to tropical destinations, or even Southern Europe, right now I feel very differently. It has been a weekend of sunny, balmy days (17 – 18 degrees, Australians), and I suddenly feel the need to book a trip to Portugal and/or Spain, buy a pile of cheap, airport paperbacks and let my skin cells get majorly traumatised on a beach somewhere, in a way that I have never, ever desired before.
Yesterday, because of the delightfully balmy weather, I went for a walk with my friend Eadaoin and her family, down to Marlough Woods, which is near to Cobh. We wandered along the rocky beach, I found a (possible) fossil, we swung on a rope swing, which was clearly not made to carry the weight of adults, and had your generally stereotypically idyllic day. We then went into Cobh, which is all excited at the moment, because it is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and Cobh was the last place the Titanic stopped before it (tried to) head onto the USA. In hindsight, its probably in poor taste to be excited about the horrific, unexpected and tragic sinking of a ship, but, well, what are you going to do. Cobh has a new ‘Titanic Experience’ museum, and yesterday it was screening a new Titanic costume drama (written by the dude who wrote Downton Abbey – are you allowed to call people who write costume dramas, ‘dudes’?) that will be showed on TV in the next few weeks, so the Titanic mania was reaching fever pitch. You could see it in the decoration of shop windows, which were all Titanic-themed, some with paper-mache versions of the ship made by local schoolchildren, others with related photos and antiques, and I even saw one of the charity shops had decorated its window with two mannequins in similar clothing to Jack and Rose. They were even positioned like they were in the famous ‘I’m flying, Jack!’ scene. I felt this was very impressive. Or, it could have just been the sun, improving my mood.
|I just spent half an hour attempting to find an image I saw on Facebook a few weeks ago, which accurately summed up my worries over the Jack and Rose water-death scene, which is that, why the hell couldn’t she have moved over and shared the plank of wood with him? Was it her not-yet-purged upper-class British snobbery? Was it that she was so cold her brain had stopped functioning and therefore she didn’t realise she was lying on a plank of wood twice her size? Or was it James Cameron’s burning desire for an Oscar, and he thought if he tragically killed off one of the main characters that would somehow make the film more ‘real’, or ‘historically accurate’, or give it a ‘message’, which one could only presume was that Oscar-worthy directors are not afraid to kill off their handsome leading men? I guess we’ll never know. Anyway, I couldn’t find the image, so I give you the one above instead. Its not quite as funny, but, God, I can’t be arsed looking any longer. Plus, this caption has taken almost as long to write as it took to find the image. Blergh. From: http://hellyestitanic.tumblr.com/page/87|
Today, I was mainly on a bus, getting back to Dublin, which was a disappointing waste of sun, but, at least once I was back in the city, I was able to walk around in a SLEEVELESS dress quite comfortably. I was then able to sit down in said sleeveless dress and read a book, even when I was sitting in the shade. It was almost like being back home again.
I think one of the reasons this winter has been so tough is that it is the first serious winter (Australians, you don’t have serious winters, just so you know) I have experienced all the way through since I was a kid in Minnesota. When I went to Norway, I arrived halfway through winter (January), and I left halfway through (December), so I never had to experience that 5 – 6 months of increasing darkness, increasing cold, and knowing that it would be many, many weeks before you would be able to walk around comfortably outside again.
What’s wonderful about having been in Ireland for longer than a year is that I’m experiencing the same seasonal changes that I witnessed last year. I’m trying to think why this is wonderful. It feels like I have some sort of insider knowledge, maybe. Its not exactly exclusive insider knowledge, as everyone in Ireland will have noticed the same thing, year after year. But, its new for me, this very obvious passing of the seasons. I can see why people write poems about it and used it as metaphors for emotional states in innumerable books and movies. There is such a feeling of joyful anticipation in the air in Spring. Even though the sun is only out til 8pm tonight, the longer it stays lighter in the evenings, the more I’m reminded of the days in June when the sun will be out until 11pm. Every night is a reminder that we are creeping, ever so steadily towards summer. We’ve just had a big leap forward to, as daylight savings started today.
Anyway, so I admit it. I’m totally fickle and all over the place in my tastes and opinions. Don’t listen to a word I say. I suspect this post is evidence of that. If not just because I completely back-flipped on my view points regarding summer and winter, but because I think, despite my promise of two weeks ago to pick a topic and stick to it, each of these paragraphs talks about something completely different, only mildly related to sunshine-y days. If I were my English teacher, Mrs. Wallace, the first person in my high school career to point out that I had absolutely no idea how to structure an argument, let alone an essay, I would be giving this post a big, fat F.
But, guess what? Its a quarter to eleven, and I cannot be bothered going back and rewriting it.