Mid January already, but for the first time in 2014 it really does feel like the start of a new year. Today the sun is shining: yes, really, even to the extent of having to close the top floor curtains in order to see the iMac screen.
Hardly earth shattering news: certainly not comparable to the continuing depressing events seen on our screens every day. But up here, in the submerged north, a morning without any precipitation, let alone one also with a glimpse of the sun, is something to sing about.
Halloween marked the end of our delightful and unexpected Indian summer; subsequently, there has literally not been a day without rain. Temperatures well into the high teens and water falling from the sky in biblical proportions, combined with entire days of almost total darkness, gave late autumn and early winter an apocalyptic feel.
Christmas came and went with barely a hint of frost, let alone a flake of snow and New Year heralded the return of the deluge to levels previously reached at the beginning of December.
Living with a major river flowing past the sitting room window, the fear of flooding has been a constant anxiety. Fortunately, so far, and touch wood, although an angry, caramel-coloured tide has thundered past, at times widening the river to three times its usual size and submerging the banks and overhanging trees with frightening ease, the drainage system has worked and the water has not risen any higher than the lowest-lying parts of the cycle path. Fingers crossed, the short term forecast will prove accurate and the next couple of weeks will bring some drier, colder conditions.
On the positive side, a brief, dry window yesterday morning allowed for a a quick survey round the garden and brought the welcome evidence of buds on the magnolia and acer, plus a scattering of bulbs across the front flower bed: small, but unmistakeable, signs that spring is on the horizon. Sunset is now a full 45 minutes later than in mid December and the beginning of spring – in seasonal terms – is only 46 days away!
But if you have to endure a British (or, even worse, Scottish) winter, then make sure you’re in a city, especially one where the bright lights, busy shops and wide variety of culture are more than adequate compensation for wet pavements and cold bus stops. Having a wonderful film theatre on the doorstep and world-class musical venues four stops along the train line really does hit the spot.
The Armadillo added an extra slice of atmosphere to Jools Holland’s ever-excellent winter tour and Celtic Connections looks mouth watering. After that, the film festival will run through February and Aye Write will arrive soon after..
Glasgow has always been renowned for its culture and innovation. Let’s finish with perhaps the most appropriate tribute to the musician who defined my adolescence at the venue that illuminated my childhood.