SUZANNE HARRINGTON: Four warm thoughts about wonder of winter

IT appears to be winter. Unless you are a fan, you have little choice but to suck it up (being a parent of school age kids, you can’t just jump on a one way flight to a deserted beach hut and stay there, living on coconuts and novels, until spring – the kids would have nobody to check their homework, and would probably get scurvy from all the takeaway pizza).

But rather than just live through winter gritting your chattering teeth, is it possible to embrace it? Instead of looking out at the chilly grey inverted-Tupperware box of a sky, and sighing great wintry sighs, is there any way you could rethink winter so that it is a better place — at least inside your head? It’s a long shot, but you could give it a try. So here goes – the good things:

Films get better. The words ‘summer blockbuster’ tend to wear thin after a couple of months of watching the earth being blown up in 3D, and being numbed by car chases, superheroes, exploding buildings and the wooden hamminess of overpaid stars. At least in winter, you get films that contain actors rather than stars. Cinemas are no longer airless and sticky, and are pleasingly low in texting, popcorn crunching kids. When the weather is awful, you can go and see a film set in the tropics.

You can go hairy. Being a shiny golden summer girl or boy doesn’t just happen all by itself. All that body hair doesn’t yank itself out, yet our culture has decreed that being hairy on the beach is strictly for camels. Hence a summer of depilation, deforestation, screaming in waxing parlours, and a lot of disposable razors. In winter, you can embrace your inner – and outer – gorilla. Legs, back, armpits, where ever – just let it grow. If nothing else, it will keep you warm.

Soup. Salads are great — you’ve been living on them all summer — and they have come a long way from the lettuce-tomato-salad-cream abominations of the past, but now it’s time to chuck everything in a big pot and press play. Few problems remain undiminished by a good bowl of soup, and few unidentifiable mouldy things at the back of the fridge cannot be transformed into that same bowl of soup. It’s the ultimate recycling. Salad cream soup, anyone?

Fires indoors. All summer you may have been sitting around campfires of an evening, the stars overhead, feeling all natural and outdoorsy. It’s too cold for that nonsense now. Get back in the house. The only consolation is that you can now legitimately light the fire, which, when you think of it, is a wondrous thing – to start an actual fire in the inside of your house, and then gather around it, staring fixedly at the flames (unless there’s something better on the telly). Lovely.

Er, that’s it. Everything else about winter sucks.


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