Chilled to the bone 

Dear old Jack Frost is beginning to creep; and a stalactite hangs from my eye when I attempt to weep. 

There is no question about it winter is here. Blankets and moth-eaten V-necks are rising like Lazarus from the back of the cupboards; everyone is now wearing hats and thick leather gloves. 

It’s so cold, and being a slim chap I revile the cold and I am not blessed with any skill on an ice-skating rink. Each morning my toes feel like ice cubes and leaving the sanctuary bed is harder with each dropped degree.

My mild knee injury from the cricket season – which caused me no extra pain in the joyful summer months – is stiffened with the chill. In fact, my sporting exertions are reduced to a game or two of squash on a stilted cold court. 

Instead of footloose and fancy free, I continue to find myself shuffled up like a monk around crackling fires.

However, despite my lips turning blue, the winter is also a time for optimism. Yes, dear reader, optimism is what I whispered behind my chattering teeth. 

Well, to begin at the brining – as the great Welshman once wrote – Christmas is coming! December is, of course, a month long bacchanalian feast of friends and fine wines that ends with a day with the family on the 25th: presents, oysters and turkey – who could not enjoy? 

Aside from the festivities, winter throws up some stellar sport. Not least the majestic brave, bold horses and jockeys of National Hunt racing; they come to the fore like George Clooney on Oscars night.

The Tingle Creek, the International, the Feltham, the Christmas Hurdle and the majestic King George VI are sumptuous races that stir the heart and – hopefully – warm the cockles. 

Rugby union and soccer are ubiquitous and thankfully the rugby league thugs have hung up their spikes. 

For the romantics of the world, December is a veritable hotbed of proposals. One can’t walk along the embankment without seeing shivering men on one knee, their putative wife deliberating at time more suited to a declaration of love in Barbados. 

And, calf love is often turned into something more serious as people look to hibernate with a new lead lady, as opposed to the temptations when in the sun. 

For the gastronomes, the food is rich and filling – which is unquestionably the best. And, with no beach to saunter along an extra helping of an unctuous stew or slab of roast beef is most certainly allowed, likewise, that ever so healthy warm treacle tart.

We move from gin to whisky, white to red; and most gladly away from saccharine lager to velvety Guinness. 

While personally, I prefer to go longer walks if the weather is cold.

Needless to say, the winter is not all sunshine and lollipops. The weather takes its toll upon the usually athletic and delicate of London, leaving them looking like Charlie Sheen after a four-day bender. I find too, that I read less without the sun on my face. Sartorially London is awash with black. 

But, unperturbed by his unpopularity Old Jack dances down the street painting the car windows opaque, turning people’s breath into a smoke like appearance and, quite frankly, being a bloody chilly nuisance.  

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