This is England's winter
We had snow last night: "a light dusting," was my wife's description. But for me this is what England's winters have become: miserable weather, frequent rain and nagging cold. It's not the real cold of the 1960s, nor of the Continent. Indeed I look with envy at photos of people skiing on thick snow, remembering the feeling of frozen noses on stepping out of the chalet or wherever we were staying at the time for our winter holiday..
I remember winters in Teheran nearly 50 years ago; the smell and dryness of that cold is mostly merely memory now. I remember also undergoing survival training near Bad Kohlgrub around 30 years ago. We slept outside in temperatures of -20ºC with only parachutes for shelter and sleeping bags. It was so cold that the ground was frozen and I had to pee on it before attempting to insert a twig as a peg for the "paratepee" as such shelters were called.
No, a light dusting of snow is all we can look forward to in the southeast of England from now on. But then I think of my brother, who spent the winter of 2014/15 using an upturned boat as his shelter for around 4 months on the side of the Danube in Ruse. And that prompts me to consider the increasing numbers of individuals sleeping on the streets in the UK; the less severe winters are at least also less inimical to their health.
If we can't provide shelter for our most vulnerable citizens, at least we can welcome the milder winters.