Snow Regrets

snow-man-1189031_640

Where did all the snow go?
There was so much last week
But now the temperature has risen
And the weather is less bleak

I don’t know if it’s better
Now that weather is more bland
I think I quite enjoyed
The winter wonderland

It might have been too cold
And hard to get around
But there is something quite fun
About snow upon the ground

No snowmen did I make
And no snowballs did I throw
But thanks to inclemency
Into work I didn’t go

And now we’re back to normal
Which is probably for the best
But I really did enjoy
My extra day of rest.

Winter Wonderland

James Proclaims (4)

sochi-2014-262145_640

I don’t much understand the Winter Olympics – we didn’t get to do much skiing, snowboarding or speed-skating when I was growing up in South Wales. Then again we didn’t do a huge amount of rowing, dressage or modern pentathlon round my way either and I like the Summer Olympics quite a lot, so maybe my disinterest is less that the winter games are full of sports I’ve never played and don’t understand and more the fact that not many of my compatriots are very good at them either.

Time was, of course, that British medal hopes in both the Summer and Winter Olympics were minimal, but thanks to a ruthless funding campaign, abusive and bullying coaching strategies, and questionable interpretations of the Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) to legitimise the use of performance enhancing drugs, we Brits have become serious medal contenders at the Summer Olympics. Alas those same strategies aren’t going to make the UK more snowy and mountainous so success in the Winter Games will always be more elusive.

Norway seem to be pretty good at winter sports. Maybe as part of our Brexit deal we could join forces with the Norwegians, who already find themselves outside of the EU, and then I could enjoy the Winter Olympics a bit more.

Although a Norwegian style deal seems to be off the table and instead we’re hoping for ‘Canada +++’. I don’t actually know what that means, but the Canadians are also good at winter sports, so I’m OK with forming an alliance there too.

Then again, it’s not like we’ve never had any success at the Winter Olympics. We seem to be alright at curling, which is perhaps not the most exciting of the ice-based sports but it does make for strangely compelling TV, and there’s been some success in the skeleton, which seems to involve going really fast downhill on an ice-track supported by what is essentially a tea-tray. Which is madness really.

Historically, there is even a history of British success in figure-skating. After all, who can forget national treasures Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean? Well no-one can, because every Winter Olympics the BBC appears to be obliged to show footage of their gold medal performance from 1984. And obviously they’re involved in ITV’s Dancing On Ice, which is like a less popular and more hazardous version of the BBC’s flagship show Strictly Come Dancing.

We did have an ice-rink nearby when I was growing up. I remember ice-skating being a ‘thing’ people did for their birthdays during my teenage years. I went once with a group of  friends and, for the hour or so we were on the ice, I was utterly petrified. I never went again and so died that Olympic dream.

I fared better on my one skiing holiday as a teenager, in that I did actually enjoy that. Sadly though, in my one week of skiing I didn’t quite manage to hit Olympic qualifying standards.

Which seems like a missed opportunity on reflection.

Movember Madness

gentlemen-33225_640
So it’s November, a month that is genuinely hard to love.

It’s cold, dark and miserable. It’s like December but without Christmas.

Yes there are fireworks, but that’s pretty much it, and they’re all done and dusted before the end of the first week.

Thankfully there are ways to survive November, to help us all to hang on until the bright lights and commercial excesses of December sweep into view.

One way is to grow a moustache. Now clearly this isn’t something everyone can do – there are certain biological limitations at play here. But if you are able to grow a moustache, then November is the time to do it.

The only rule seems to be that you have, rather wittily, got to change the first letter of the month and spend the next 30 days referring to it as Movember. Then you can start growing a moustache at your leisure.

Remember to point it out to everyone, whether they are interested or not. Remind them that not only are you a bit of a ‘character’ for doing this, but you’re also an awesome human being because you’re growing it for charity.

It’s obviously helpful if you can remember what charity it is that you are doing it for – although that doesn’t appear to be the most important aspect of the whole enterprise.

Like every previous ‘Movember’ I’m not going to participate this year, but several times this month people will mistake the facial hair that I acquire due to my usual lethargic approach to shaving as a sign that I fully endorse ‘Movember’.

I don’t.

Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud

weather-2017515_640

It was almost daylight
As I drove to work this morning
Almost a reason to be cheerful
And almost optimistic
About the fact that winter
Is almost over
In a few weeks I’ll be waking up to sunshine
To longer days
To vitamin D
But my inner pessimist
Couldn’t help but point out
That I’ll no longer be able
To blame my bad moods
On Seasonal Affective Disorder
And I may have to acknowledge
That I am, in fact, at times
Just a bit grumpy