Monday, 12 December 2011


This is a post about cold weather and what to do about it.

When I was young, I remember my mother always saying to me and my brother ‘Aren’t you two cold? Put a jumper on.’ Of course we weren’t and we didn’t. We were young and full of energy and adventures and we never felt cold and our mum was just being a mum. And we never caught a cold…

Then, back in the last millennium sometime, I was at university in Liverpool when THE COLD WINTER came. I was sharing a house with friends (some of them might be reading and will remember!!), it was the beginning of January when the day time temperatures suddenly plummeted to seriously minus zero and Britain froze from North to South. Our landlord (known for various reasons as Pervy Pete… but that’s another story) told us not to light the very dodgy gas fires as the frozen pipes would probably burst. So, no heating. I remember sleeping in a balaclava and gloves in a sleeping bag with a hot water bottle under two duvets but waking up every morning to find ice cms thick on the inside of the window. The only subject of conversation was the cold, lessons were cancelled, trains were cancelled. Life just froze.

And from that dramatic experience onwards I have always had a fear of the cold. It may be one of the reasons why I decided to stay in Italy so long.

Luckily Genova is one of those places that rarely gets too cold. There might be a biting wind one or two days in the beginning of January but usually we don’t complain. Yet, for some reason, as soon as it gets to November, come rain or shine (or 20° like it was last week) all the children in Eve’s school suddenly start to arrive with wooly hats pulled snuggly down over their ears, hoods pulled up over their hats and then scarves wrapped around the whole lot as though they were on an arctic expedition. Eve occasionally has her jacket done up. As we file into school the mothers and grandmothers glare at me in disbelief. Their fingers twitch towards their mobile phones ready to call the child abuse line. They cuddle their own little balls of protected wooliness towards them as if to distance them from the strange English mummy who doesn’t know how to look after her child.

The hatted, hooded children are always ill. The slightest breeze and they start coughing and sneezing and…. horror of horrors… get a temperature. (The next post will explain this very bizarre Italian phenomena) Eve has never had a temperature, never been off from school for a cold and only wears a hat in the snow. I wonder if normal sensible exposure to the weather might not be a good thing?!

Anyway, just so that my friends in colder (and windier) climes don’t hate me too much… I thought you might all be pleased to see that this morning my hill looks like this!

Much more Christmassy. And today there’s another strike so no school for Eve. Dread to think how the children would be dressed.