Winter has struck its first tentative blows – two successive days last week we woke up to see our world carpeted with a thin layer of snow. Karla – Benny’s wife who has lived all her life in this town – swears that this is the first time she’s seen snow fall in October. Considering last winter was one in which several firsts going back thirty years were bested, that singular piece of news leaves one with a sense of dread. Those who should know better also swear by their instruments that this will be yet another long, hard, harsh winter. In anticipation – and I should add as usual – the gas and power suppliers are inching the rates upwards. Not since 2008 has there being such a significant hike in prices. Predictably there is discontent at huge profits, pay for executives and other such perceived signs of exploitation in the face of price rises. One paper goes as far as saying ‘Christmas will be ruined’ – for an annual average increase of a princely seventy pounds or 67.2 bottles of Becks premium lager…. The days when we bemoaned twenty-six degree weather seem so far away now..
Amidst the sound bites though is the glibly overlooked fact that the coming of winter is not all gloom and doom. Winter, and by extension snow, is a harbinger of more things than cold, slippery weather. The city centre is already replete with decorations – decked out with bunting in anticipation of Christmas, radio DJs are already announcing their end of year raves, and furniture deals for Christmas delivery are already being advertised. Most importantly perhaps is the stark reminder that 2010 – like an athlete on steroids – gallops to an inexorable close and the long lists of plans , programs and good intentioned activities which we all swore by need delivering on. In other words, it is the end game for 2010, and I for one need to knuckle down and close out the last bits..
All told, its being a pretty decent year… A few more days of gloves, caps, knee length coats… A few more tasks to accomplish and it might yet be a great year….