James Burns

James Burns

Baby it’s cold outside

Apparently ’tis the season to be jolly. Nope. Don’t believe the icy hype. ‘Tis rather the season to panic about the forthcoming freeze and pile on as many layers it is physically possible for a human to wear without spontaneously combusting. I’m up for the challenge (if you feel moved to sponsor me, don’t hold back; my heating bills are horrendous). As one of those odd types who thrives in the nondescript middle ground of spring and autumn and starts shivering as soon as clocks change, winter is something that must be endured not welcomed. Yes, there are compensations – elaborately flavoured hot chocolates with towering bouffants of whipped cream, hot Ribena as one of my five a day, the distraction of Christmas sparkly things from late September to Boxing Day – but its sinister undertones can not be ignored.

Be ye not deceived, fair reader. Winter’s few charms fade compared to its major weapon: cold. The season’s ambassador, a Mr J Frost, was unavailable for comment but it widely believed the time-honoured strategy of incapacitating the delicate with chilly gloom and numb extremities will continue for yet another year. Resistance is possible. I offer a few survival tips to be adapted for your own desperate circumstances:

1. Wear tights, leggings and jeans simultaneously. Can be passed off as either a world record attempt in heat generation or rehearsals for a cameo role as ‘woman standing as though afflicted by water infection’.

2. Eat own body weight in cheese toasties.  Self-explanatory and basic good sense.

3. Hot water bottles in all circumstances. For approximately six months of every year assume those unsightly, rubbery, slightly undulating lumps under my clothes are doing the good work of keeping me warm. The rest of the year, assume nothing. 

4.  Duvet as home office. My productivity rockets when all work is conducted from beneath two quilts and a throw. If I could find one that came with sleeves thereby avoiding deadly forearm chill you wouldn’t see me until early April.

5.Watch all snow-related ‘fun’ from indoors. Merely position a chair centrally in front of a window, add popcorn and you’ve got your very own 3D cinema experience. (Some have found humming the ‘Frozen’ soundtrack enhances the experience. Many have found the opposite.)

6. Fake it. It can become tiresome to fight accusations of grinchness in relation to an entire season instead of just one day of it. To deflect cold-blooded criticism, simply turn around the aforementioned chair, use the snowy fun outside as your backdrop, add bobble hat, beam of delight and appropriate filter, and selfie your way to overrated social acceptance.

7. Move to Denmark. Yes it can be cold there too, but they invented boots made of actual duvets and can be trusted with your wellbeing at this difficult time. Plus, bacon.

8. Find love with someone who specifies a desire for cuddling and holding hands. Failing that, become uncharacteristically tactile with friends and family. Or people at bus stops. General guideline: body heat maximisation over social boundaries.

9. Mull. Yes, this could mean ponder carefully, but what better to ponder than how winter cries out for hot-absolutely-everything. Wine is just the start. Mull the mulling and don’t stop. Invite people over to join the mulling. Not only will you not have to leave the house, you have a legitimate reason to ask them to bring you food. Just call it a party. If anyone starts a festive sing-song, no mulling – straight out the door. If you’re quick you can probably keep their coat.

We are in this together, my frostbitten friends. Winter can be resisted. Just don’t listen to anyone who tells you to chill.


Wild Times

An Unfortunate Direction


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