19 November, 2005

Frost report

The temperature has barely struggled above freezing today, something that's completely upended the normal look and feel of the outside world.

I had to go into Liverpool city centre, which I normally hate doing on a Saturday as the place is traditionally heaving, noisy and manic. Today, however, I found it transformed into a bewitching, beguiling landscape where all the harshness and hostility had been tempered by the unexpectedly Arctic conditions.

Even though the sun was blazing away, patches of ice and frost remained encamped upon the ground at every turn, masking the dirt and the grime and all the straight lines. There was an incredible colour to the sky, a soft bluey-white gauze that threw all the angular buildings and increasingly-skeletal trees into hugely sympathetic relief, while dappling the sunlight into a thousand prisms of gold. A stillness pervaded everywhere. People went about their business mute and muffled.

This cold snap has taken everyone by surprise, and most seem to just want to get back to some place warm where they can control their surroundings. I'm just thrilled at nature reasserting itself in a manner befitting the time of year. There are only five weeks to Christmas after all.

I'm lucky to live quite a way out of the city, and as I write I can almost smell the silence which I can sense through the window. Smoke is rising lazily from chimneys, silouhetted against the wispy bleached clouds, while the wistful red and brown leaves are making their sedate way softly to the ground and birds are settling down for the night. In the same way the world always feels newly distilled and reinvigorated after a thunderstorm, a dose of proper winter re-focuses and heightens your surroundings wondrously after the blurred, mushy mess of late summer.

Meanwhile last night's Doctor Who one-off was truly fantastic - Stuart sums it up perfectly. I wondered if anybody would be talking about it on the bus, like they were when the show was back on Saturday nights earlier this year. Not so. Instead all I heard was two women discussing why Natasha Kaplinsky had a "mature face".


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