The current colour du jour for the weather is a rather classic charcoal grey, with cloud banks adding some eye-catching texture to the flat light.
Basically, it’s miserable.
Overblown descriptions aside, the three simplest adjectives are: cold, wet and horrid.
My home for the day is a large red armchair next to the well-stocked fire. If I’m extra-chilly I can swing my legs over the grille to warm my toes like some 19th century fictional character. However, today I resemble a mad professor in a lime green cardigan - the hours have been spent scattering our carpet with history timelines, revision notes and piles of books. I have only retreated from my warm lair to make cups of tea, eat meals and fetch further materials. Oh, and I managed to snatch a brisk stroll across the fields at twilight.
Nevertheless, the small slivers of daylight seen today reminded me of icicles – such a novelty that it felt justifiable to reach out and grab at them (or rather, hurriedly put on wellies and dash outside in the hope of fresh air). Yet the minute such effort was made, the light melted and disappeared behind another layer of rain. These last few weeks of the year feel ripe for hibernation – a fortnight of unbroken sleep would improve my mood no end. At the very least things should be restricted to only the most gentle of activities: drawn out games of scrabble perhaps, or some light baking and heavy reading. A further week of college and commuting must be waded through first.
So, how to conquer the grey feelings that all too often accompany the grey daylight? I like to think of it in terms of inverse proportion – the duller the day, the brighter the clothes. And this vintage Betty Barclay jumper, reminiscent of the famous YSL ‘Mondrian’ dress, is the brightest of them all. The black velvet shorts were customised from a pair of rather nasty jogging bottoms. I wore a variation on the pictured outfit to college recently, replacing the high heeled Mary-Janes (a gift) with long black boots and adding an M&S reversible black cape for warmth. A friend told me that I resembled a French art lover – surely the best possible response? When the jumper was donned again for the photos at the seaside last weekend, the day was not so much morose as downright temperamental. The wind was bitterness personified – colder than Scrooge. My brother sat miserably on a rock while my dad attempted to shield the camera lens from rain drops and sea spray. Finally, we admitted defeat, zipped up our rain coats and trudged back. Unsurprisingly, we were the only people on the beach.
Yet, alongside the opportunities for bright clothes-wearing, there are other advantages to this weather. Lucy wouldn’t have found her Narnia without a grey day to while away. Similarly, no childhood classic is complete without a rainy afternoon providing the opportunity for hide and seek. Ideally, said story should also include a grand house big enough to run amok in and well-stocked dressing up box. Now there is something I can lay claim to - my wardrobe (ie an extended dressing up box) is never knowingly under-stocked. And the clothes within it are useful tools for combatting seasonal melancholia in the dark evenings. Plus, if all else fails, then there are always pink silk pyjamas to fall back on.
What brightens up a dull day for you? Suggestions, memories and well-tested methods are all appreciated.