I think the weather is starting to drive me insane. The cold. The almost incessant wind. The rain. The drizzle. The snow. The everlasting greyness. I think I have seen the sun twice since Christmas. The house full of bored and irritated cats, getting under my feet or chewing each other's ears. The impossibility of getting even a quarter of the things done in the garden that I need to do. The cold.
I went into the spare bedroom last night, to hunt through the boxes of beekeeping books for two that somebody wanted to borrow. It felt icy, even wearing two heavy, long-sleeved cotton t-shirts underneath my extremely dense, pure wool, knitted in Iceland sweater. They understand cold in Iceland. This morning I went down to Clacton to hand over the books, since I'd promised to take them along to the committee meeting on Thursday and completely forgotten them. Walking along the sea front, watching the turbines on the Gunfleet rotate sulkily, the wind cut through me like a knife. Mine was the only car in the car park by the Martello tower at the west end of the parade, and the beach was deserted.
I met my fellow committee member at the bank, where he had an appointment to talk finance and I had some money from the beekeepers' raffle and refreshments to pay in. We huddled in a doorway waiting for the bank to open, like a pair of smokers save for the absence of cigarettes, and exchanged views on how the committee was going, and I gave him the plastic bag containing Microscopy on a Shoestring and Anatomy and Dissection of the Honey Bee. Afterwards I thought that maybe one needed to be a little careful furtively exchanging plastic bags in doorways in a place like Clacton. It could be liable to misinterpretation. Walking back along the front the wind brought tears to my eyes. Tendring council had done a brave job with the spring bedding, but even bright yellow polyanthus were not enough to make the gardens look cheerful on such a day. The only other people out were a few chilly-looking dog walkers.
I noticed that the council had put up waymarks along the railings, to encourage people to exercise. The full round trip of the Clacton Seafront and Garden Walk covers 1,870 metres and walking it should burn up to 360 calories (or more on a day like today), though the effect will be negated if you end your trip by treating yourself to breakfast at the Toby carvery. I didn't.
At the plant centre they must be tearing their hair out. It is the annual spring jamboree, but who wants to go on a guided garden tour and buy plants in weather like this? I am rather selfishly relieved it isn't my weekend to work, since the atmosphere at an event that should have been a big, important day but has been blighted by weather is always depressing. The forecast for next week is almost as bad, not as windy but with light rain expected every day, up to and including Wednesday. One of the people at the local garden centre where I buy the mushroom compost was muttering yesterday about emigrating, and one of the girls there told me that last Monday, when it snowed, the snow came in through the greenhouse vents, and by the time she got home, she was so cold she'd forgotten what her own name was. The news on the farming programme this morning was of fields sitting unsown because they were too wet for the farmers to get machinery on to them, and crops standing still instead of growing, because of the cold. Surely spring must come soon, before we are all mad, or bankrupt?