I have arrived in Stockholm two days ago to be greeted by metres-high snow piles on street corners, a blanket of sparkling white everywhere, and twinkling snowflakes falling slowly onto my hat (and nose) through the dark air.
Somehow, while in England the snow felt like a disaster and bad weather, here it feels different – appropriate and right: this is what winter looks like. The temperature is not at all arctic at the moment – it hangs a bit below to a bit above zero, but not enough for the snow to melt, and the cloud cover has just shifted, letting sunlight in.
Yesterday’s blizzard has persuaded us to stay indoors and write and read to candlelight, curled up around a succession of pots of tea – from Tie Guan Yin to black rose-petal flavoured Persian. We ended up eating whatever we managed to drag in on Wednesday after our flight (whole-wheat spaghetti with bacon, fresh arugula, sliced and seared garlic, and a hard Swedish cheese as it happened). But, now that the sun is making the world almost painfully white, I think it is time to pull my ankle-length coat with its huge fur collar out of the closet and remind it that real winter does come sometimes (at least to these shores!).
We are on our way out to find some small (and large) edibles. The hitherto empty pantry must be stocked!