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What's winter like in the UK these days?

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Post by bikeralw Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:58 pm

Ah well, the time has come, due to entry restrictions, plus the lack of flights, we've finally abandoned all hope of spending this winter in New Zealand. 
Having soaked up the antipodean summer sunshine for at least three months for the last 12 years now, we're finally having to face up to spending winter in the UK.
Relatives have told us it's much milder than it used to be, is this true?
I hope so, as we both suffer from SAD syndrome.
I do know I won't be having my usual Dec/Jan/Feb/March views such as this...
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Post by Dave 418 Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:46 pm

Maybe it’s my age but having been brought up in the north west with cold damp winters with limited sun light it dosnt seem as bad living on the east coast. I left the north west in the early seventies and settled here in the eighties. It seems a while since we had a really hard winter so maybe it is getting milder.
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Post by Gromit Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:59 pm

It's totally unpredictable Al.

Three or four years ago (might have been a bit longer) we had so much ice forming on the overhead power cables that it brought some of them down, and cars completely buried under snow drifts so you wouldn't know they were there!

Last year we hardly had a frost! scratch head
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Post by Askit Sun Oct 04, 2020 6:35 pm

Yep, who knows. I bought a snow shovel 6 years ago and haven't used it at all. Having said that, the one time I could have, it was in my basement and I couldn't get the door opened because of the snow  hugegrins Some winters are wet, some are windy and some are cold, last year it was all of those in this bit of the world. Last year we talked about going away for the winter, but that was last year  shrugg

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Post by Quilter Sun Oct 04, 2020 7:25 pm

I feel for you Al. Brittany Ferries took the balance of our early December ferry booking to Spain today. We are still undecided as to what to do; sun and warmth versus uncertainty and the likelihood of being confined to the van without feeling it safe to shop, eat out or visit places as usual.

I think we have come to the conclusion that we are really not going on 3 rd December and are looking at making ourselves as cosy as possible at home in the expectation that it will be cold, grey, miserable and grim here until March. We hope to get out in the van over that time and will no doubt be glad of thr 6 kW heater.
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Post by bikeralw Sun Oct 04, 2020 11:31 pm

Others may disagree Quilter, but I think you're making the right decision. Uncertain times, and no one knows which way this will go.
There's not much pleasure to be had going out in our local town let alone abroad.
On our walk today we called at a usually popular place for a coffee and cake. After negotiating the one-way system and hand sanitizing station I was required to scan the QR code before our order was taken. No soft chairs, no coffee in a real cup and saucer, no plate for the cake. Instead it was a hard bare bench and table, coffee in a single use container, and cake in a disposable wrapper..
We were glad to get home.
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Post by Gromit Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:37 am

bikeralw wrote:After negotiating the one-way system and hand sanitizing station I was required to scan the QR code before our order was taken. No soft chairs, no coffee in a real cup and saucer, no plate for the cake. Instead it was a hard bare bench and table, coffee in a single use container, and cake in a disposable wrapper..
We were glad to get home.
Al.
That's almost the worst aspect of the plague Al.

A lot of life's familiar activities are able to continue, but they are not "familiar" any more. It takes all the enjoyment out of stopping for a coffee and a cake.

Gives you a new appreciation of what it was like to be a leper!!  shrugg
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Post by Quilter Mon Oct 05, 2020 10:13 am

Al, you, and others, might like this blog:

https://barryandsandra.com/2020/10/04/first-impressions-of-campervan-life-in-nz/

Barry and Sandra are live-aboard narrowboaters in UK. Barry is a New Zealander and recently they flew to NZ where they have just bought a campervan, to see family for 6 months. Their account of the flight and subsequent 2 weeks isolation period in a government controlled hotel makes interesting reading.
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Post by bikeralw Mon Oct 05, 2020 12:17 pm

Thanks for that Quilter, but I'm not really a fan of other folks adventures, preferring to make my own, and lost the will to live after my laptop froze with the innumerable pictures appearing, my internet is quite slow..
However, I persevered and eventually got to the nitty gritty of their account of getting to NZ.
I guess they're only allowed there because he is an NZ national.
We've been told that as foreigners there's no way we can get there, even though our daughter is now a citizen.
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Post by burlingtonboaby Mon Oct 05, 2020 1:17 pm

Warmer ,wetter on the west coast of Scotland, cooler drier down here on the East Riding. Last heavy snow here was back in 2010.
Many will remember the winters in the 60/70's , metres deep in snow, minus 10 degrees plus, however we all managed to get to work, now a days , 2 ins of snow and the country grinds to a halt.
Sorry you can't make it to NZ Al.
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Post by bikeralw Mon Oct 05, 2020 3:20 pm

burlingtonboaby wrote:Warmer ,wetter on the west coast of Scotland, cooler drier down here on the East Riding. Last heavy snow here was back in 2010.
Many will remember the winters in the 60/70's , metres deep in snow, minus 10 degrees plus, however we all managed to get to work, now a days , 2 ins of snow and the country grinds to a halt.
Sorry you can't make it to NZ Al.
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I think I'd prefer frost and snow to endless 'Tupperware' days. We're usually around to suffer lots of those in November..
Being at a 1000ft altitude you'd imagine our town would be equipped to cope with snow, but no, it takes a lot less than 2 inches to cause everything to grind to a halt!
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Post by groundhog Mon Oct 05, 2020 4:58 pm

I feel for you Al, its all a bit of a b*gger really but could be so much worse. We will not be travelling back to the family home in Canada either, technically there would be nothing to stop us as citizens but practically it just isn't worth either the risk or hassle. If the journey involved hop on at the local airport and hop off the other end fine, but, it is far from that.
A certain person close to me also has a special birthday in January so we were planning a couple of weeks in Palm Island in the Grenadines, an idyllic retreat but only accessible via Barbados. With a UK passport we would have to isolate in Barbados but if we flew to Canada first then we wouldn't, weird isn't it.
The good news is that this far west in Cornwall doesn't really do Winter, the daffs will be blooming before Christmas so below is what we will be missing!
Will just be using the van for days out locally and hoping back to France next year
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Post by Adam & Emily Mon Oct 05, 2020 10:41 pm

Living in the Midlands, the last ‘propper’ winter was when my daughter was about 8 and she’s just celebrated her 21st. Hardly have to scrape the car windscreen these days but the child in me misses the snow that we get for about 4 days a year now😢
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Post by burlingtonboaby Tue Oct 06, 2020 6:11 am

Adam & Emily wrote:Living in the Midlands, the last ‘propper’ winter was when my daughter was about 8 and she’s just celebrated her 21st. Hardly have to scrape the car windscreen these days but the child in me misses the snow that we get for about 4 days a year now😢
I used to enjoy my nightly trunk to Inverness from Broxburn,traveling via the wee villages and towns before the new A9 was built.
Stopping at Calvine at the snow gates for hours until the snow ploughs cleared a single track up the Drumochter pass to arrive in Inverness, no a sign of snow there.   shrugg
Oh those were the days.  allthumbz
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Post by bikeralw Thu Dec 03, 2020 6:43 pm

Just to rub salt this pic popped up in my family FB memories from a year ago today.
A few hours away from summer..
I tell myself lots of folk have had things much worse than me, it's only a missed trip.
Snowing now!
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Post by Quilter Thu Dec 03, 2020 7:02 pm

Just about now we would be sitting in the van at Portsmouth ferry terminal watching the 7 pm firework display to mark the arrival of Galicia for her maiden voyage with passengers for Spain. We would board soon after and sail, in our Commodore cabin, at 2215 for the winter in Spain. 

Instead...well, I don’t need to spell it out.

Only ( tiny) consolation? The shipping forecast for the Bay of Biscay for tonight and tomorrow night is grim.
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Post by bikeralw Thu Dec 03, 2020 8:10 pm

That sounds lovely. How long are you usually away for Quilter? Our friends normally winter in Spain in their van, because they host Christmas for their large family they always leave the day after new years day. 
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Post by Quilter Thu Dec 03, 2020 8:19 pm

We usually return in early to mid March. 

Interesting that all of a sudden there is publicity in the papers about the unfairness of the 90/ 180 day rules in UK second home owners. I’ve not seen mention of the many thousand Brits, not all golden oldies, who winter in motorhomes and caravans in Spain and go a long way to keeping many villages alive and working in the low season.
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Post by Dave 418 Thu Dec 03, 2020 10:12 pm

This time last year we were in Australia during a heat wave. Even the Aussies said it was abnormally hot. We havnt had full sun for what feels like weeks here in Lincolnshire. Not helped by being stuck in isolation and locked down.
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Post by harrysp Fri Dec 04, 2020 9:04 am

Quilter wrote:We usually return in early to mid March. 

Interesting that all of a sudden there is publicity in the papers about the unfairness of the 90/ 180 day rules in UK second home owners. I’ve not seen mention of the many thousand Brits, not all golden oldies, who winter in motorhomes and caravans in Spain and go a long way to keeping many villages alive and working in the low season.
I share your pain. We usually set off about 25th Nov to arrive around 1st December and staying about 10 weeks. We drive through France because of our dog, so I’ve weakened this week and looked at the enroute weather. I know, a mistake. 

Having followed this pattern for 7 years, this week we had new windows fitted and I wrote Christmas cards, decided to get a turkey and wondered at the neighbours lights.

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Post by bikeralw Fri Dec 04, 2020 9:30 am

Well we're trying to adapt to winter festivities, a rooted tree bought, lights and decorations dragged out of the attic etc. Although we're going to have to update some, I don't think LED's were common back in 2008...
 My wife has enjoyed making and decorating a cake though.
A downside of Christmas in the UK that I hadn't foreseen is that with not swimming and otherwise charging about with the grandchildren in the sunshine every day, and eating and drinking instead, I can see I'll be putting on weight..
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Post by Quilter Fri Dec 04, 2020 9:37 am

bikeralw wrote:
A downside of Christmas in the UK that I hadn't foreseen is that with not swimming and otherwise charging about with the grandchildren in the sunshine every day, ...........
Al.

Not being out in the sun every day also means that vitamin D levels drop. With the double whammy of a possible connection to Covid 19, we’ve added a dose to our breakfast menu every morning. What surprises me is that it is still available. I’d expected a run on it.
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Post by bikeralw Fri Dec 04, 2020 9:57 am

Coincidental you should mention that Quilter, only yesterday I spent a small fortune at our local Holland & Barrett. Vitamin D, full strength, was top of my list. Surprisingly it was on offer at half price.
Daughter just sent me this pic from the beach where her kids were having a surfing lesson, part of the school curriculum.. 
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Post by pompeymike Fri Dec 04, 2020 2:21 pm

Back on the topic of winters in the UK..... down here in Southsea we don't often get frosts. But back in 2010 we had -12c and enough snow for some students to build an igloo on Southsea common: Southsea Igloo Archives | Strong Island
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Post by Quilter Fri Dec 04, 2020 2:29 pm

Superb igloo. Well done them.

I think the real awfullness of a UK winter is the grey gloom day after day after day.  Most of us could cope with bitterly cold and sunny days but lowering skies are a real downer. 

It's amazing what even 10 minutes of sunshine can do to your mood. It's just come out here, a bit watery but there. Strange to think it's the same sun shining on Conil beach... !
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