Winter is the time when we get the least daylight. But at least we get some. In Scandinavia, some people have developed ‘reindeer vision’ to see in the dark, because at certain times, they get no daylight at all.
Did you know that ‘winter snow globes’ contain antifreeze? Never leave them near pets or children, they are toxic (just bin them securely).
The Met Office states that winter has two possible start dates: depending on meteorological or astronomical (the earth’s orbit direction that begins on the winter Solstice on 21 or 22 December). The fixed date is usually 1 December, with colder temperatures.
The winter of 1963 remains the coldest on records since 1740. It was so cold that the sea at Herne Bay in Kent actually froze for a mile, along with parts of the River Thames. Literary buffs may remember this was the icy cold winter when American poet Sylvia Plath died by suicide in her London flat.
The English winter – ending in July, to recommence in August. Lord Byron
There are two seasons in Scotland: June and Winter. Billy Connolly
One kind word can warm three winter months. Japan proverb
England’s prettiest winter villages
According to Fine & Country, here are some of England’s prettiest winter villages: do you have local contenders near you?! What a lovely painting above, but know at Christmas to keep holly and mistletoe away from pets (both toxic).
Years ago, people were counted in their years by how many winters there had been (so if you were 2, you would be ‘2 winters old’). Above the Arctic Circle, there is such a long winter that reindeer have developed adapted retina tissue so they can see in the dark!
- Ibstone (Buckinghamshire) is located in the Chiltern Hills. Lovely for now, but like many places at risk from the awful HS2 project (which will not stop climate change, and has already torn down England’s second-oldest pear tree and will kill 22,000 wildlife yearly, based on comparisons with other high-speed trains.
- Stratford St Mary (Suffolk) is quite near London, but world’s away. Very expensive, so take a visit, you likely can’t afford to buy here!
- Castle Coombe (Wiltshire) used to be occupied by Romans, but today the pretty streets are home to many 17th century buildings and a castle.
- Shaftesbury (Dorset) was the setting for the Hovid bread advert in the 70s, when the baker’s helper went up the cobbled street on his bike.
- Ilfracombe (Devon) is a less touristy site, a quiet pretty place with a beautiful coastline, quiet eerie with snow in winter!
- Lower Slaughter (Gloucestershire) may not have a pretty name, but the village itself again is full of pretty cottages located in the Cotswolds. This is where all the burned-out rock stars come to retire!
- Hambledon (Hampshire) is home to one of England’s oldest cricket clubs, and the perfect connection of countryside (South Downs) and local villages, but not too far from the sea.
- Chipping Campden (Gloucestershire) is an ancient village with a medieval history, again in the Cotswolds (there’s a pattern here!) Most of this area is protected by law, so hopefully the developers won’t get to it!
- Broadway (Worcestershire) is also in the heart of the honey-coloured stone buildings of the Cotswolds, which date back hundreds of years. Pretty chestnut trees grace the streets (keep horses away, and never let dogs play with conkers, they are toxic choking hazards).