This, which I took while out walking, is not near my home, but is still the kind of leafy sight that greets me in the mornings (minus the shell).
Damp leaves are piling up on the front lawn and I even see the occasional flicker of frost on parked cars and shaded patches of grass. It isn’t raining, but the air holds no warmth.
Winter is back, and I’m feeling the cold more than ever before. This from a man who hails from a country the Romans once dismissed as “icy Hibernia”, and where the people were driven to savagery by the constant cold.
I wonder how much Abu Dhabi changed my physiology: I acclimatised quite well, in fact better than I had expected, thanks in part to arriving in December and so being around as the temperature climbed. But although I grew to handle 42C and even higher, I feel the chill in the mornings here. Even when the temperature is about 13C – good for this time of year – it nips a touch too much; this is a new experience for me.
I’ve found myself buying and, more importantly, wearing jumpers and the like, which I wouldn’t normally do until the dead of December. As I walked to work the other day I realised my hands were turning purple from the cold – and it wasn’t as bad as it could be.
Can one re-acclimatise to one’s native environment? Is it psychological? Did I feel all this before but am only now, with the benefit of experiencing a different climate, able to appreciate and define it?
As I write this it is 36C in Abu Dhabi and 7C in Cork. Before my departure I would never have thought that 36C would be lovely weather.