Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Another Cold Day

I'll start by saying that I really don't like the cold. Actually, it's the cold here in the UK that I don't like. As I sit here writing this, we in London have not had the heavy snowfall that has occurred in other parts of the country. Yet. Snow is forecast for tonight but whether we will get much remains to be seen. I hope we don't because I have to go to the local sorting office tomorrow morning to pick up a couple of parcels.

Today the temperature has barely managed to get above freezing, but it is the fact that we have a very moist atmosphere that always seems to make it feel so much colder. I have, in the past, spent some time in Bardufoss, in northern Norway, during the winter period.

Bardufoss is about 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle and has prodigious amounts of snow each winter. I can clearly remember the first time that I went there. It was in February 1988 and I was still in the RAF at that time. We went to this part of Norway to take part in major NATO exercises that were held each year. I remember stepping out of the back of the Hercules onto a taxiway that was ice covered and snow was heaped in mounds about 10 feet high. As I breathed in for the first time, I felt all the hairs and the moisture in my nose instantly freeze up. the temperature was -19 degrees Celsius, and this was the middle of a sunny day. The coldest temperature that I ever experienced up there was -37 degrees Celsius, and I can tell you that is pretty cold.

Although these were much colder temperatures than we are experiencing at the moment, I never really felt cold when I was there. Admittedly I was issued with Arctic thermal underwear but I would often spend time outside without a coat on. The atmosphere was always dry and this meant that although it was cold, very cold in fact, it never seemed to feel as cold as it does here.

One of the best things about being in that part of the world at that time of year was seeing the Aurora Borealis. This natural light show in the sky has to be seen to be believed. Seeing it on television or in the cinema really does not show it in its true magnificence. Sometimes it is just curtains of white light that move across the sky at speed, but the best displays are when you see the Borealis in greens, reds and yellows. It really is breathtaking to see.

So, I will continue to dress myself in multiple layers while this cold spell continues. And maybe remember what it was like to look up into the night sky and see those multicoloured curtains of light dancing all around me.


Anonymous said...

I normally love snow when I don’t have to go out... I attempted to get to college but after waiting for a bus this morning at 6.30am and realising they were obviously not running I gave up and went home! I am just about snowed in now! I only got back to college yesterday after Christmas and now I’m off again and it doesn’t look like there is much chance of getting in tomorrow either!

Still whilst I have no officially college work to do, I have plenty of reading to do and Maths can always be revised! Yikes!

Even when I have travelled to Sweden for my winter holidays I’ve never seen snow like this, the UK is never prepared but we sure have been caught off guard this time!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I'm so envious of your adventures. I hope I get to see the lights one day.
I agree - the soggy, grey British winters are mostly unpleasant and misery-making. However, I'm loving this crisp, bright species of cold we have at present. (8 inches of snow up North today!) I find the february - March period the most gruelling though when everything is just drab and non-descript and all you can think of is how much you can't wait for the earth to come to life again. Anyway, I'm rambling.
Take care and keep warm.

cb said...

I would love to see the Northern Lights.. Also hoping the snow doesn't come in London - looking good so far but I have no doubt I'll be eating my words when I wake up tomorrow morning..

Achelois said...

Lucky lucky you to have seen the lights! As mentioned recently on my blog my nearest encounter would have been the calendar from amazon of them. Gutted now to learn they cannot provide it and would have to order it at a massive £22.00 not really a price I can afford for a calendar. Your adventures make my past life seem very dull in comparison. Well the snow has started here in West Sussex big time. I would imagine London is snowy too by now. Keep warm won't you and just hope you manage to get out for your parcels tomorrow! Just tried to go outside to take some photo's but snow so deep and my wonky dislocaty knees don't mix combined with large bamboo outside the front door which is so laden with so that its sunk to the ground! The joy's of living with a gardener is we live in a veritable jungle!

Take care.

Anonymous said...

I went to Finland last year and was gutted to not see the lights. It is true that the cold there doesn't feel cold. I was too hot most of the time with my thermals on!