Thinking about cold

At the bus stop

Waiting for the bus in Edinburgh

Of the two types of people in the world, the “I’d rather be hot” and “I’d rather be cold,” I’d definitely rather be cold. You can always bundle up, add more layers and scarves and gloves, but once you’re as bare as you’re comfortable going in public, that’s it in the heat.

I didn’t even used to get particularly cold. Probably because living in Kentucky, we just don’t have frigid weather often. As I’m looking at the weather forecast for Quebec (it’s 23 there now with a windchill of 11) I remember my introduction to Really Cold Weather.

Brian and I went to Scotland for the Hogmanay (New Year’s) celebration in December of 2003. We’d been to Scotland before, and I knew that even in June I’d needed a sweater, and had been able to see my breath one afternoon it was so cold. But I never knew what serious cold felt like until Edinburgh in the winter. Our B&B was heated just enough to keep ice from forming on a glass of water, the shower provided lukewarm water at best, and no matter how many blankets I piled on I couldn’t stop shivering in bed. And that was inside!

Outdoors my nose ran non-stop,  I kept my gloved hands jammed in my pockets, and developed a semi-permanent hunch to my shoulders from trying to keep warm.  When my bare flesh met the ice posing as a toilet seat on a moving train in the non-heated bathroom compartment, I learned what real cold was. I didn’t feel warm down to my bones for months afterwards, literally.

But did this ruin the trip? No way. We made frequent breaks for tea or coffee, drank hot mulled wine, and shivered together in the snow as we watched the kilted bagpipers march. Compare this to being hot and cranky in Capri on a sweltering day and I’ll take cold anytime.

That’s easy to say now as I sit in my warm house, but I’m off to buy cable-knit tights to wear under my trousers, and earmuffs. And there’s always hot coco.

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