The long dark drag
At last! December!
There is something about November that places it at the very bottom of my league of months. January and February don’t have much going for them either but November is the pits.
It seem to be never ending, with its dark evenings that keep getting darker and the cold beginning to settle into the bones. It just goes on and on and frankly has little to say for itself.
One or two of you may correctly point out that for the majority of December the evenings are still getting darker, but the end is in sight. The countdown has started to one of my annual highlights – the Winter Solstice. In less than three weeks we start the long slow climb to Spring and Summer. Some may say I am wishing my life away, but fuckit, I like to have something to look forward to.
Of course this month has Christmas [yes – it’s December so I can mention it], with all its false jollity and its endeavours to get me to mortgage my house to buy all those completely non-essential items that apparently are essential after all to lead a fulfilled life. I don’t care. I have my decorations up, you may be surprised to hear. Would it spoil your surprise if you learn that I never bothered taking them down last year, thereby avoiding all the tedious untangling of wires this year?
Even the annual problem has been solved. I refer to Herself’s insistence that she wants to buy me something useful and something I really want. The problem lies in the fact that I don’t really want anything. what do you buy for the mean who has everything [apart from Penicillin]? In the end she decided to buy me a surprise. She bought me a churchwarden pipe, but of course I know nothing about it as it’s a surprise. The surprise is a little tainted however as I was the one who had to buy it and take delivery in the ungodly hours few mornings ago. Nevertheless it will still be a compete surprise when the time comes.
It’s another of the blessings of a failing memory.
I agree that December has a lot going for it, however there’s a curious thing about sunsets. Where I am at the moment the shortest evenings start on 1 Dec and start to get longer – very slowly – from 9 Dec, so by the 21st, they’re about 8 minutes longer.
So I was curious about Dublin. I know you don’t live there, but it was just to take a shufty. Anyway your evenings stop getting shorter on 9 Dec and start to lengthen about 10 days later.
And it’s slightly confusing to some about the 21st, because morning people have to put up with a later sunrise until well into January, while late riser’s can by that date see far longer evenings.
The downside, especially in Edinburgh, is at the summer equinox when we have to put up with daylight until about 11 at night for a couple of weeks, while my distant relatives who live way up in Thurso can see perfectly clearly through the entire 24 hour cycle.
Wonderful being a source of bog useless information.
My good friend Ian is an amateur astronomer [I am really envious of his telescope!] and he often chides me about shortest days/nights. I know it’s down to a slight wobble in the Earth’s axis but I still find it hard to understand how the mornings can be getting brighter while the evenings are getting darker [or vice versa]. My feeble little brain isn’t quite up to things of such magnitude.
Useless information is what makes the world go round. It’s also excellent for pub quizzes.
I love following timeanddate.com this time of year – even a few seconds longer is a step in the right direction.
May I be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas 2019?
You’re right about November going on and on even on my side of the pond and it’s odd how every November is different form year to year. Last year it was unseasonably cold, like really cold, and and no snow to build up alongside the house which made it all the more difficult to heat on the inside. This year however, It was mild with temps in the 30’s (F) during the day but with plenty of snow. The wet heavy stuff that makes the back ache when shoveling and the snow blower complain even though the depth of the stuff is only 8 inches or so. I’ve begun to have fantasies more and more of living somewhere with less snow and central heating.
And Merry Christmas as well from me and The Wife to you and yours.
Good god, look at all the typos in that comment! That’s what I get for waiting too long to edit the thing.
Only one typo that I spotted.
I still find it weird that I am hundreds of miles nearer the Pole and yet you have had snow for weeks now. [and I know why before anyone starts waffling about Gulf Streams and things]
At least you lot are kitted out for the white stuff. One whiff of it here and the country grinds to a standstill.
And a Merry Christmas to you two too.
I pretty much figured it’s a combination of the jet stream and Arctic air coming down from Canada. Whenever the jet stream dips below my general area Arctic air streams down across Canada and makes things frigid. When the jet stream is above New England temps are more mild and we tend to get the wet heavy stuff due to storms coming from the west as well as storm systems up the coast from the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean area. That plus Vermont is landlocked with the White Mountains to the east, the Great Lakes to the west, Canada to the north and the rest of New England to the south.
As for you folks, this is a fair explanation:
Hi Grandad – and a Happy, Diverse and Inclusive Winterval to You 😉
Where I live (52o North) the earliest sunset is at 1547 on the 12th. By the time we get to the latest sunrise on the 30th the sunset is already nine minutes later at 1556.
There is a good explanation here, also see the link to “The Dark Days of Winter” on the NASA site.
Must go now, busy fattening up the reindeer for the Solstice feast…
So I can really start celebrations on the 12th! I don’t give a damn about sunrise – I’m always asleep.
And Many Happy Returns.
Here in the EU region of the north west of England (not for much longer) I do not notice such things as I have given up using the clock. (Timer on occasion but never a clock)
Usually awake when it gets ‘light’ during the pre-Gregorian months of November, December, January, February and still awake when it gets ‘dark’. Although the cloud cover doesn’t allow for precise timings in any case and often the streetlights sensors have them on and off during the day so the precise timings appear to be of no use at all.
Two things tickle me. On a clear sun rise which runs through to a clear sun set the same ‘portion’ of the sky turns pink in this neck of the woods.
The other not unrelated is sat by a landlocked dock or park lake when the high tide fills in the mudflats on the other side of the wall the water in the dock/lake doesn’t ‘tide’ at all. It just sits there dead level from one side to the other. Is the moon losing it?
I worked outside for a lot of years. The first two weeks of January were the worst after that you could see the daylight creep back in.
Never minded November as the weather was ok, the clocks going back at the end of October might be the reason it seems bad.
Back in my working days the worst part was never seeing the house in daylight except at weekends. That was a right pain in the hole. Though at least I didn’t have to worry if the house looked shabby.
“what do you buy for the mean who has everything [apart from Penicillin]?”
“Mean?” Shome mishtake, shurely?