Monday, 12 January 2009
Freezing on the South Coast
Brrr. You come down from London to Brighton and expect it to be warmer than London. Normally it is: the South Downs shelter it from the worst of the weather from the North and especially the North East winds, and the coastal climate generally makes for milder days and nights too.
But not on Friday. The band of warm air descending, ironically, from the North, that ended the freeze elsewhere in the country had been held up somewhere in the Weald, so by the time my train reached Hayward's Heath, there were ominous signs of frost still hanging around in the late afternoon. Getting out at Brighton, it was distinctly frosty, and a quick check on the Met Office website revealed that it wasn't my imagination: the temperature - measured just down the coast in Shoreham - hadn't risen above freezing all day, and on Friday night fell to a really chilly -7.3C.
Interestingly, no-one seemed to have told a busy little squirrel any of that, who was up and early on Saturday doing whatever squirrels do. I thought they were supposed to hibernate, but apparently this is a common misunderstanding: both grey and red squirrels remain active throughout the winter, especially first thing in the morning when they have finished digesting their last meal and go looking for the next.
This one was certainly active on our garage roof, though quite what sort of food it thought it might have found there is anyone's guess. Still, it made for a more interesting and uplifting start to the day than listening to the latest grim news on the Credit crunch and from Gaza, both of which seem incapable of resolution at the moment.