I can't complain. Not when we have family in various parts of the north who are truly stuck because of the weather, who are housebound, and who have a snow-plough at the top of their current wishlist. Not even when Simon phones from Bangkok, then Singapore and now Melbourne and tells me of 28-32 degrees C temperatures when we have 28-32 degrees F. But mostly I can't complain about the weather after sitting at the same table as three people in a crowded cafe yesterday who were were completely and utterly miserable about the bus service in Berkshire and the problems of getting to and from work in a little snow and ice. I had to leave my tea and shortbread undrunk and uneaten before they engulfed me in their misery.
I cheered myself up with a Gertrude Jekyll 'flower glass'' ready for the tulips in spring, and a box of clementines with leaves (always a treat to have the leaves as well), then by soaking a bowlful of dried fruit in brandy for a Christmas cake, and making pizzas for everyone to warm us and the kitchen. But the thing that cheered me up most was reading Philip Larkin's Letters to Monica (this review is worth reading) and the descriptions of the poet's bedsit, bachelor life in Hull and his 'fusspottery' as Andrew Motion described it this wonderful radio programme. The thing I hadn't realised about PL is how cruelly funny he could be, how much he liked washing-up as well as jazz and dyeing his socks mauve, and how brilliant he was with ordinary words both in letters and poems (I'm reading the poems as I go along and as he writes about writing them). It's all a seriously good antidote to complaining; even though he does plenty of that himself, he does it with such insight and self-deprecation that he becomes good complaining company, and not miserable complaining company.