Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Lessons Learned

1. When attending at work, on a Monday morning, somewhat earlier than I usually am but not earlier than I should be, and staring out admiring the church spire that I have never before seen from my office window, my thought should not be, "Oh, I've never noticed that I had a view of the church spire before," but rather, "Oh, my goodness, what on earth happened to my tree? And poor Mr Squirrel and his nest?"

It was not until after my cup of tea, as I looked into the distance wondering whether something so rectangular could still be called a spire, that I realised my tree was hacked off at window height - right below the squirrel's nest. I had spent happy otherwise-billable minutes watching a squirrel dart into and out of his* nest, presumably storing up precious nuts for winter. I hope the tree-loppers gave him sufficient warning to move his goodies, and his home, before so brutally demolishing all the top branches. Now the tree is all ivy, and not tree at all, and I have no squirrel to watch nor tits (little sparrow-like birds) to gaze at in contemplative or procrastinatory moments.

* I don't know for certain it's a him. I just prefer giving an animal a gendered pronoun, rather than calling him, "it". I do have a tendency to anthropomorphise. Although I do not seem to have qualms calling babies and young children, whose gender I cannot readily identiy, 'it'. I think I need to re-examine my pronoun usage. In my defence, babies and young children grow up to articulate their own identities; animals and inanimate objects (which I also tend to anthropomorphise) rarely do, at least not comprehensibly to me.

2. When it is winter in England, and you are all warm and snuggly and able to walk about in a t-shirt inside your heated home, it does not mean you can walk outside (for example to the shops for some mozzarella cheese) in the same t-shirt with nary a jumper, nor a coat, nor a hat. Gloves and scarf would have been uneccessary, however, as it was only 11 degrees, and not single digits. Gloves and scarves are only necessary for single digit weather.

I still forget that the temperature inside is not at all reflective of the temperature outside. In our home in Brisbane, the weather outside came right on inside. Some winter nights were rather chilly, but hardly life-threatening. The wooden walls did nothing to insulate us. In our flat in England, there is double-glazing (two panes of glass on the windows), and brick and mortar walls, and strange 'night-storage' heating, which doesn't quite seem to work (the storage part; the heating part works fine).

We had no appropriate* cheese for our dinner of pizza, and as I had just arrived home from work, I voluteered to go down to the local corner store. Somehow, the fact that I had peeled off my layers (windproof jacket, fleece jumper) did not alert me to the cool weather outside. I just put my shoes on again and walked out. It was a fast walk to, and from, the shops. I suppose I could have gone back inside for a jumper and coat once I had exited from the flat, but the cold didn't really hit me until about 10 metres from our front door. And then I realised I was an idiot. But an idiot who was getting more acclimatised to the cold. So, plus and minuses.

* We had nettle and garlic flavoured cheddar, and parmesan, either of which would have been fine if I were lazy, but I was feeling all energetic-like.

3. I feel that lessons should come in threes. Sadly, there is no third lesson.


Hedgehog said...

Re note2: The storage heaters in our flat are totally rubbish . They're supposed to store heat overnight and keep the flat warm during the day. Thing is, we're always out during the day and always seem to come back to a freezing flat. So it's oil heaters all the way for me. I know what you mean about the stark contrast between the outdoors and the inside though. I am not very good at coping with the wet winter here. Saying that, I have foolishly been outside without proper clothing many times and I haven't had a bad cold for at least two years. So there you go, it's not that bad (p.s: I'm by no means encourage you not to wrap up properly though) :)

Anonymous said...

Proof that I am in fact a grubby teenage boy - that I couldn't suppress a giggle at the thought of you gazing at tits in contemplative moments, even if they are birds. Hur hur hur.

Mmm - nettle and garlic flavoured cheddar sounds yummy.

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