One Saturday at the weekly Writers Centre workshop a friend of mine declined to read out what she’d written because her foot was asleep.
This excuse may seem daft. As daft, perhaps, as my own offering, which is that I have done less blogging over the past few months because the weather has been cold.
As our winter stretches now into April, and as temperatures still remain obstinately in single figures, I am sticking with my story.
I do a lot of my writing on the bus on the way to and from work (buses are notoriously bumpy methods of transport, which may explain the shakiness of some of my plotlines). There seems to be an agreement among all Dublin Bus drivers that they will not turn on the heating, no matter how cold the day. Perhaps they are afraid that if we passengers were made comfortable (in other words, treated as customers instead of as nuisances) we would stay on the bus for the day, like kids trying to sneak a second go on the dodgems, travelling on an endless loop into and out of the city, forsaking our jobs and therefore further weakening our economy.
The lack of heat makes fingers cold and unbending, so hands have to be dug deep into pockets. Coats remain on, instead of being placed against the wall as a buffer for one’s elbows while typing. Brains have to go into hibernation.
No-one could write in conditions like this. Ok, Scott of the Antarctic did, but no-one else apart from him.
The journey home is the same, and then you face into a biting east wind and walk up to your house. You sit down on the sofa in front of the TV, just for a few minutes, to warm up. You do not move until bedtime. Posts are unposted, indeed unwritten, other bloggers are unvisited, and your blog sits forsaken, an internet version of Puff the Magic Dragon after Little Jackie Paper grew up.
But Summer is on the way. We know this because, as is customary every Spring, “traditional” weather forecasters, those who forsake science and instead look at stuff in fields, have been invited onto the radio. People like Dave from Donegal, who predicts the weather by watching which side of rocks the lichen has grown on this year, and John-Pat, from Clonakilty, who does the same by examining the thickness of the plumage of the lesser-spotted tree warbler, come on to predict a warm if wet June followed by a scorching July and an August with temperatures normally achieved only on the surface of Mercury.
The radio presenter is thrilled with this, informing us that Dave and John-Pat have been using these methods of weather prediction for over one hundred years now, and have never once been wrong. The fact that just last Autumn Dave predicted a Winter featuring a plague of stoats, and that John-Pat predicted fifteen inches of snot (he couldn’t read his own writing, the word should have been “fifty”) is forgotten. These people are soothsayers, their word is to be taken as gospel, and we all rush out and buy speedos, barbecue coals and Factor 90 sunscreen.
And on the rare occasion, about once every fifteen years, in which we do get a glorious summer? Well, you couldn’t possible write in that weather, it’s far too hot.