Sunday 8 December 2019

Helen Moorhouse: Got winter blues? Fear not, a summer scorcher looms

WHY isn't there a catchy name for January 2? This year it could have been Lose-The-Will-To-Live-Wednesday. Next year we might look forward to Torture Thursday. Is there any word that's bad enough to describe that first day of official back-to-business of the new year – all memories of the cosy Christmas cocoon obliterated in seconds by the alarm clock about an hour after you've finally managed to drop off to sleep having spent the night in a tangle of sweat and dread?

Only a total masochist leaps out of bed to greet January 2 with enthusiasm. There is nothing bleaker than the prospect of the remainder of winter ahead with the distraction of Christmas gone. Dark when you leave in the morning, dark when you get home; broke and cold with the next bank holiday only slightly further away than payday.

Some snow might cheer us up for five minutes, until we have to abandon the car on the way home, although there's generally a shot on the news of a man slipping on his arse, which is better than nothing.

Nil desperandum, however. Word comes from the southern hemisphere that all will be well. Summer 2013, apparently, is going to make up for everything. And how do we know? Ken says so.

New Zealand long-range weather forecaster Ken Ring, to be precise. A man versed in the language of the moon, the sun and the tides, who has translated what the elements have said as the following: "Phew, what a scorcher!"

Ken's got quite a way with the words. Warm, says he. Dry. And then he cites a legendary number, 1995. Oh Ken, you will be spoiling us.

According to the man from Middle Earth, the first half of July and the second half of August are going to fulfil the fantasies of balmy, Mediterranean conditions so long denied to our pasty exteriors. It's also going to rain a bit between now and then – just constantly for three months or so – but who cares, the prospect of a corresponding possible three dry months is a complete Brucie Bonus. Enough to make us lie back and think of Tangle Twisters.

Can we trust him? Ken has form, having accurately predicted our recent Arctic adventures. Or is he toying with us? How unfair would that be? We're not only pale, after all, we're fragile and delicate after years of constant monoseason. Could this finally be the year that we can book a proper holiday at home? Leave the barbecue uncovered overnight? Or our legs even?

Weatherbeaten as I am, I'm not entirely sure that I'd commit to booking a break in one of Ken's suggested sunshine slots, but then again, what have we to lose? We've half a year before we find out if he's actually The One True Ring or simply a sandwich short of a car picnic. But if nothing else, his predictions provided just a tiny ray of sunshine on Why-Oh-Why-Wednesday, the darkest day of 2013 so far.

Irish Independent

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