Another week of grey, extremely cold weather. But apart from the odd flurry of snow (and rather pathetic little snow particles at that), it has been an exceptionally dry period. This combination is unusual for southern England. Cold winters normally mean frosts, snow, lots of rain. We have had a fiercely unpleasant east wind for day after day but almost no precipitation at all. A drought in this part of the country seems likely for the summer (why no national pipeline for water?
And what, you may ask, does this have to do with the daily journey to work so vividly brought to life in these chronicles? Quite a lot, actually. The long wait this morning for a train (no indicator boards at any of the stations on the Uxbridge branch line means the extra frustration of not knowing how long the wait will be), enhanced by a biting cold wind forcing a gaggle of commuters to huddle together at the top of the stairs at Ruislip Manor. Since the rebuilding removed the main shelter halfway down the platform there is nowhere else to go.
And there was not much relief on the train. Normally they are warm, sometimes searingly so. But the moment the doors open and a blast of freezing air enters, the carriages become almost as cold as the platforms. Fortunately today we were not held for several minutes at Ealing Common, as often happens when there is congestion around Acton Town, because then the doors would have been open for an achingly long time.
Can the spring be far away?