Monday, March 19, 2012
It seems that some of our fans have been quite concerned at our ability to weather the English winter (sorry, couldn't help it!), advising us of the snow or cold or rain or darkness that we have been experiencing and sending us endurance to get through these tough times.
Actually, we have been extremely lucky with weather in England so far - it seems the NZ media is only reporting the extreme conditions around the UK. We have been surprised to find London quite mild, and only two proper pea-souper days so far.
Our first two days in England were the warmest October days on record (in the South-East at least), and we had another two weeks after that of summery clothes before things cooled down. December and January were quite cool and we both bought wool coats and gloves to get us through, however the winter here has apparently been warmer than average.
The only really cold time was for two weeks at the end of January and one week at the beginning of February when it was below averagely cold - bitterly cold, in fact - and most days didn't get above 1 or 2 degrees. This was when Europe was having its cold snap too. It snowed twice here, with one lot settling and then icing up, meaning that it stuck around in shady spots for close to a week. The other lot didn't settle beyond morning.
Since then, it has warmed up considerably and while March has been quite smoggy and overcast, we've also had some cracker days with temperatures around the 15 or 16 degree mark- and a couple of brill days of 20! - and no need for wool coats. London is now in a drought after having such a dry winter and the usage of hose pipes (= garden hoses) is now banned.
I think one of the best advantages to England so far is the incredibly sensibly designed houses. Granted our apartment is quite new - built around 2008/2009 - but the level of insulation and presence of double-glazing has been most welcome. We only really used our central heating during the coldest parts of January, and even then only for an hour or two per day. Even in winter, we could still walk around in bare feet or t-shirts inside, especially if the oven had been on.
Now that is a standard of home that New Zealand would really benefit from. It has been a real luxury to be so toasty warm inside when it is cold outside.
To celebrate the arrival of Spring, we returned to Greenwich last weekend. It seems that everyone else had the same idea. We ate icecreams on Greenwich park - watching squirrels as we sat - and then climbed to the summit of the hill and walked around the outside of the observatory. (Puff puff)
May this gorgeous weather continue! Us deprived Kiwis are looking forward to the rest of spring and our first summer in possibly 15 months...