Have you heard me whining already about how dark it is yet? Hmm have you also missed Obama re-elected and that the world is to end in less than a month? That is a big rock.
But also, it’s really freaking dark.
I was told it would be like this in December, and imagined the bright snows of Christmas reflecting the fairy lights and all sparkling against the inky twinkly black skies. And of course, it wouldn’t be as bad as Scotland, where 3pm darkness was a half-year norm. So scoffed the English, with all that sunshine that they’re known for.
It was all lies.
Or at least, it was WILDLY minimised.
As much as everyone here (from NZ and the locals) complained about the Summer, I was actually impressed at the amount of days over 30 degrees (Celcius that is – do I have any US readers hmm?). I’d say it was definitely more than I’d have seen in any Wellington Summer, and I managed to get sunburnt in London a fair few times – it just doesn’t seem necessary to carry sunblock in supposedly-dreary England, until you’re in the Royal Parks with every patch of shade bagsed by the pram-pushers and surrounded by 10,000 pasty patches of ne’er-seen-sun skin who sure don’t have some SPF50 to share.
Okay, so it also had a coupla patches of raining all day every day for a fortnight (and being hot at the same time so that hair and skin went WTF is happening?!), and granted, I still complained about it, but that was because it was TOO hot for me. I’m good with about 20-25 and after that I can’t cope with life. You shoulda seen me melting during the 41 degrees in Melbourne last New Years. Actually, no one should see that. It was like I was sick, mad, deaf-mute, suicidal, and homicidal all at once. Oh, and sweaty. Oh so sweaty.
But after that much-hotter-than-expected Summer, I thought we might have a nice long slow slide into Autumn. Not so. October the 1st came and BAM! It’s Winter bitches. One day it’s so light and bright in my room that I didn’t have to turn the light on in the morning at all, and not til about 9pm in the evening, and then suddenly, I’m groping about for the mascara, not understanding why my vision’s defying me and I’m sporting black swipes across my cheeks.
I’m sure you think I exaggerate, but it lit-er-al-ly seemed to happen overnight. And this was a couple of weeks BEFORE daylight savings ended. Imagine the horror on the first day that I walked out of the office at 5pm into the darkness. Even worse now in November as the sky sparks a muted pink at about 4pm and my rather windowy office illustrates perfectly the dimming of all hope for some Vitamin D today.
One of the free rags on the tube had an article this week about how everyone in London apparently has an extra-bad case of SAD this year, thanks to the sultry Summer and sudden onset of mid-Winter. Apparently that’s why everyone’s a douche-bag all the time.
I’m feeling mildly dubious about this, as I know I’ve been ranting about said douche-baggery for a liiiitle bit longer than Vitamin D can account for (which prob makes me one of them). And yet, it does make me wonder a little. I know that I personally would prefer a cold and clear day to a warm and rainy one. Okay, so quite a lot of that is to do with my hair’s propensity to betray me in humid situations, but I also just enjoy a blue sky. It makes me put on my tourist eyes again, and walk about with gaze upturned, noticing pretty edifices and gargoyles and spires and remembering, shit bro, I’m in LONDON!
On these days the ever-present planes paint pointy strips across the skies towards the beautiful histories I could be looking at, rather than reminding me that I can’t see anything other than them in the heavens above.
So yeah, it’s bloody dark. I had no idea that it would be so different to home, where there might be a 3 hour difference in dark-time between mid-Winter and mid-Summer rather than the 6-ish hours in London. I thought NZ was as far South as the UK was North, and so it would be the same, but perhaps I need some geography lessons.
But I just have to point out one thing in London’s favour with this darkness business. London is most sincerely, unequivocally beautiful at night. This week LD was running late to meet me on The Strand for an opera at Charing Cross (Monopoly win!) and so, with some time to kill I had a wander and ended up out on the middle of Waterloo Bridge. As much as the wind pinched at my unsuitable jacket and the 3am darkness told me I should be in bed at 5pm, the views were, well, glorious.
The Thames, the run off of millions, that only the bravely-stupid durst enter for triathlon glory (or Giardia) sparkled with the reflection of the
stars passing planes. In one direction, the flagrant, whimsical opulence of the London Eye stared down the constitutional seriousness of Big Ben with his green hue atop gothic Westminster. In the other, the Shard perplexed the untutored by assuming an unfinished guise, across from the inimitable St Paul’s, the genuinely spectacular spectre of a church that just won’t quit, besieged by bombs though it may have been.
What can I say then? Odi et amo. That sums up my life here, but despite the lack of Vit-D I’m still somehow coming up amo, or aroha.
Aroha nui bitches!