When undertaking my daily browse of Hay-net last week, I noticed a theme – many bloggers were finally bemoaning the end of summer. It’s been a long, slow goodbye this year: although it hasn’t felt mild to me, having flown into the UK in late September from a part of the world where I’d had non-stop temperatures of 30⁰+ for the previous two weeks, I am aware that temperatures have been unseasonably warm. I’ve seen a lot of chatter on Twitter of horse owners whingeing about having to unpack their horse’s rugs, only to have the horse wear them for just one night before the temperature took another little leap again.
But the clocks have now changed, the world is a little darker and also consistently colder. Winter has well and truly begun to arrive. And for equestrians, winter can be a particularly desperate time, especially for those who have their own horse but also have a full-time non-horsey job. For those of us who love to ride horses, winter in the UK means seeing our beloved animals in the dark, stressing out about them damaging their very expensive rugs (not to mention fretting about ailments such as mud fever), and generally not enjoying our hobby as much due to the weather conditions.
Here’s the thing though: if we spend our time hating on winter and yearning for summer, we are miserable for half of our lives. Whilst I appreciate that there are very real conditions such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (commonly known as SAD), I’m going to try and take a personal positive outlook. Without further ado, here are some of my favourite things about winter:
This will surprise nobody who knows me well. I’m not into stews or casseroles, but I’m a little obsessed with soup, and soup just isn’t what I crave on a warm and summery day. But for lunch when it’s cold outside? Pass me an enormous bowl of chowder, mushroom, or good old tomato soup.
This is actually a conflicting one, because much as I admire beautiful shoes, I don’t like wearing them all that much. If I could live in flip flops, I happily would, partly because I’ve got such enormous feet that finding shoes which are comfortable, affordable and not hideous is a horrible task. But footwear aside, I’m a big fan of jumpers (and jumper dresses? Heaven), jeans and thermal socks. I sound elderly, but my reasons are these: I own a mighty collection of jumpers, all sorts of colours and some of them sequinned; not having to perform the daily Stubble Stroke because you’re wearing jeans/trousers/tights rather than shorts and therefore don’t need to factor in additional precious minutes to your morning routine? Priceless.
I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again: Halloween can take a running jump. Anything pumpkin-flavoured gets flatly ignored by me. But Christmas is another story. I enjoy shopping (far too much), and I love the opportunity to spoil and surprise the people closest to me. Plus I love anything sparkly/tacky/mincemeat-flavoured/which legitimises the chance to pop a champagne cork before midday.
Regular readers and good friends will know that I’m a fan of certain TV shows which air over the winter (namely: Strictly Come Dancing – aka celebrities rolled in glitter, attempting to master a new skill; The Apprentice – televised career suicide), but it’s also when many of the greatest films are released. I hate the “summer blockbuster” season – I’m not into bloated CGI-heavy films about men who wear capes, or aliens who are attacking the planet from it’s core. I prefer biopics, political thrillers and good-quality ensemble rom coms (meaning Love Actually rather than that insipid American attempt at the same thing, Valentine’s Day). Movie releases are often best in the winter, due to the studios attempting to flirt with the Academy and other bodies in time for awards season (and awards season is another reason to be excited about winter, perhaps one for another blog post!).
Summer is great (when it happens, as it has for me the past two years), but there are merits to winter. What are your favourite things about this time of year? Pumpkin fans need not comment!