Today marks my one week living in Leeds, England. The “harsh winter weather” lasted only the first 4 days I was here. It snowed lightly and the temperatures dropped to below freezing, but this is no Boston, that’s for sure! The ice on the streets was the worst part – I literally ice skated down the road from my flat, and then there was another couple hundred meter stretch of ice skating rink until you hit the main road which was covered in black slush, or “sludge” as they call it here. We wanted to go sledding down the hills nearby, called “sludging”, appropriately, for when the ices melts into sludge.
Well, the weather warmed up a bit, and immediately I saw less winter clothing. A local post man has been wearing only shorts and a short-sleeve shirt all this winter, with thick socks and boots, of course. I saw him one day and commented on ‘how you must be cold’ to which he laughed and replied in his thick accent, “wore dem straight through since summer!” I knew at that point I was just egging on his mantra. Trying to get a feel for the fashion in England, I have been surprised by the number of girls in this town I have seen wearing tights and short skirts or nothing at all except long sweaters. From the back it looks like they’re wearing nothing under their coats other than boots.
I am doing consequently exactly what the British love to do – talk about the weather. They’re even proud of the fact that they talk about the weather so much. “We’re on an island, you see, so we get all sorts of weather.” Yes, but usually not any drastic changes. Their snow is like soft Nutcracker suite glitter, and their rain like faint April mist. I wondered how the British could walk everywhere in such wet weather. Now I understand. It’s like an ever present wetness in the air, not heavy American Midwest humidity, more like wafting sea mist. This is a bit of an overstatement; I don’t know how to describe the difference in the humidity better here than to show pictures of what it does to my hair. Stick straight in New Mexico, my hair was a frizz by time I got out of the taxi in Leeds. Here are some pictures inside my apartment after a brief walk outside to drop off a CV.
Also, some pictures from my 7th floor flat of the surrounding city and the snow while it was there. Now I wake up to thick fog every morning, and sometimes rainbows when it begins to clear.