Friday, 14 December 2012

cold feet

Of all the corvid family
It's rooks wot wears the trousis
Though only then down to the knee
-the rest the cold wind blowsis
The last few days have been seriously cold in Bristol; the hoarfrost remained unthawed for ages, and the local crows have responded to the freezing conditions by shouting obscenities in the trees at the back of the house; "FAAAACK....FAAAACK". Crow calls on cold days seem particularly appropriate. It got me thinking of how cold birds' feet must get. Hence the rhyme, which doubles as a useful aid to identification. 

House Teenager's feet must get pretty cold too, being generally bare. "Why don't you put some socks on," I asked. "I don't have any socks," she said. I suspected that this meant that the socks were under the great heap of clothes that covers the floor of her room. But I dug out a pair of hiking socks for her, anyway, from my marginally less chaotic pile.

Change is blowing in now, though; a breeze sprung up in the night, and it's gone all foggy and, well, at least it's above freezing. You notice the weather when you don't have central heating!


  1. Oh yes, growing up in an unheated house I understand that whole "Fully in touch with the weather" thing!

    ISTR reading that birds have a heat exchanger arrangement in their blood vessels supplying their legs. Very cleverly designed, crows.

  2. Whatever happened to chilblaines (sorry for the spelling if it is wrong)? It was a sure sign of winter when they appeared on my toes as a child. I am softer now and quite like being surrounded by heat.

  3. The seventies was my unheated decade though the fifties and sixties were spent in a house with only two rooms which ever got heated and one of those was "kept for best" so did not get used all the time! Old solid fuel ranges used to have industrial strength plate racks and for a long time I could climb up there!! I miss ice patterns forming on the insides of the bedroom windows, they were so pretty. Cold used to be a fact of life...

    My partner loves a warm house but complains about warm weather, I love warm weather and prefer cooler house. It costs an absurd proportion of our income to "try" and keep Bramble Cottage warm, I know that if left on my own the heating would have to be the first thing to be sacrificed along with the visitors who would only come in the summer!

  4. yes, Jenny- I think it was that Chris Packham chap explained that to me on Autumnwatch. V clever; it still looks bloody cold, mind.

    I don't think I've encountered chilblains, Bella! Maybe because I generally have sensible socks. Though there are those horrid times when hands and feet get so cold that it hurts when they warm up again. Oh yes, riding motorbikes.... lord, that used to be so cold....

    My dream house (or indeed boat) will have a bloody great woodburning stove, Caroline. I love foraging for wood! Well, I love having the fruits of my foraging all split and seasoned...