Warm Heart

I know Spring is arriving and all, what with the daffodils and birdsong and general lightness in the air, but I’m still absolutely freezing. I’m sitting at my desk in full thermal base layers and two pairs of socks, but it’s not really helping. I just can’t get warmth into my bones.

A quick (ill-advised) internet search suggests all sorts of serious reasons for this: old age (thanks); low metabolism; blood sugar issues; anaemia; poor circulation; peripheral artery disease. Gosh. I’d really rather just blame my genes. Granny was always cold and would screech at us kids to “shut the door!” if we were popping in and out of the living room. Mum is the same and is never, ever, without a long-sleeve vest, even in the height of summer. A 1980s heatwave was possibly the last time Mum wore a T-shirt. And she didn’t like it.

The young ‘uns today are wearing shorts in all seasons, and I keep spotting them strutting around outside with not a care in the world. It could be fashion and influencer-based (I know), or they may genuinely not feel the cold. But even a flash of a bare ankle on a cold day makes me shiver and draw my scarf tighter round my neck.

Surely we should be stoic Celts who can withstand all sorts of inclement weather and strong winds? There are colder places to live. But my friend, Swedish Sara, has always said that it feels colder here in Ireland than at her home, where temperatures can reach minus 13. The damp air and general greyness seems to seep into our bodies. The Scandis have somehow mastered this. My forays into Swedish saunas during our year out in the van were a revelation: hot, hot, hot room; deep, deep, deep breaths; and finally, warm bones. Stepping out from those pine huts into a cold outdoors, with bare feet and arms and legs, I felt at one with the world. Who’d have thought that I could feel the breeze on my skin and simply smile and close my eyes? No shivering here. A cool outdoor shower woke me up in places I’d never even known I was asleep.