Grey Britain, Canada, Greece: a philosophy of travel

It is widely believed that in the UK when the weather is dominated by high pressure the sky is blue and the sun shines, luxuriatingly hot in the summer, icy cold and exhilarating in winter.  It can be but is not invariably true.  In fact it seems to be that the frequency with which high pressure is accompanied by days, even weeks, of unremitting grey skies is increasing.

So it has been recently.  Temperatures stuck between -2oC and +2oC, damp air making it feel colder than it did for the whole month I was in the Rockies.  The occasional brief flash of the sun serving only to mock bones aching for its warmth.  I have rarely been warm since I arrived home.

I’m still wearing my down jacket zipped up tight, scarf around my neck.  From the end of the garden to the top of the ridge, flowers, birds, animals all seem to be similarly hunched up against the dismal chill. Daffodils, usually in bloom in time for Welsh button-holes on 1 March, St David’s Day, are still in tight bud.

At the end of the garden crows sit huddled in the top of an ash tree and croak their complaints to each other.

At the end of the garden crows sit huddled in the top of an ash tree and croak their complaints to each other.

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On the ridge-top sheep get on with nibbling grass still too cold to grow

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…. while the Welsh Blacks ruminate on what hay the farmer brings out for them

The occasional gap in the clouds gives an ethereal light to ridges of the South Wales Coalfield

The occasional gap in the clouds gives an ethereal light to ridges of the South Wales Coalfield

.... but it's nice to have the sun on your back even for a few minutes at the end of the day

…. but it’s nice to have the sun on your back even for a few minutes at the end of the day

Gloomy, depressing.   So I went on the internet and priced up another trip back to Banff for a couple of weeks skiing in March.  Temperatures are lower in the Rockies in winter but the air is dryer so it doesn’t feel as cold and with continuing snow-cover everything looks cleaner and fresher.  Found some very good prices on flights and hotels.  Very tempting, my finger nearly hit the ‘BUY NOW’ button on more than one occasion.  But it would hit the budget a bit too hard.

Having completed my chapter for the book on bus routes I have turned my attention to drawing up the framework for the e-book I plan to write based on last year’s trip around Greece by bus.  I found myself hiding in the memories, basking in the sunshine and blue skies which were the almost invariable backdrop for the many photos I took and posted on the blog.  And it moved me towards making some decisions on where I want to go and what I want to do for the summer.

I started by contacting people I know over there and found that I could rent an apartment on the islands for 5 months of the summer for about half what another two or three weeks skiing would cost.  But as I read through the days and weeks of last summer’s Greek Odyssey I got the urge to travel again rather than simply stay in one place for the whole time.  In particular I want to go back to The Mani and walk some of the routes, do some of the many things I didn’t get around to.  I also want to go from there to Crete and explore some of the gorges in the west of that island.

The musing led me to philosophise and a little self–psychoanalysis.  There are two extreme attitudes to planning a holiday: always go back to the same place, back to the familiar; alternatively, never go back to the same place, always explore and move on.  I know people who have been going back to the same hotel, drinking in the same tavernas and eating in the same restaurants on the same Greek islands for 25 years.  I know others who on principle rarely if ever go back to the same places.

I concluded that I enjoy doing both.  Last summer was the perfect balance with two months more or less constant travelling and exploring followed by nearly two months in familiar places, pleased to have put down roots, bask on a rock in the sun … and then have a swim.

So I’m moving towards some decision-making.  I need more researching of flights and feedback on accommodation opportunities and then …………..

In the meantime, like the other 63 million Grey Britons, I’ll put up with the gloom and the cold, concentrate my efforts on sorting out the garden and preparing a patch for my grandchildren to cultivate, grow fruit, vegetables and flowers.  Preparing for their Summer, my Autumn.

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This entry was posted in Canada, Greece, Grey Britain, Grumpy Old Men, Mountains, Pontypool, Wales and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Grey Britain, Canada, Greece: a philosophy of travel

  1. sarahsquall says:

    The endless grey weather’s been getting me down too. I’ve vowed to be elsewhere this time next year. Having said that, today was glorious, almost warm out of the wind. I couldn’t garden though, ground solid, I have a new nut tree and a damson to plant, they remain in a bucket of soil in the shed until I can dig a hole for them. I love the pic of the sheep with the sun on their backs. I watched a blackbird carrying dead grass to his nest, a sign of hope. Stay warm, good weather for writing! S

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