At 11.12 this morning (UTC, which is a sort of GMT but more astronomically accurate) I shall celebrate the arrival of the Winter Solstice for it is at this time that the Earth reaches its maximum declination of 23.5° away from the sun in the Northern Hemisphere. At this point nowhere north of the Arctic Circle sees daylight for a whole twenty four hours and we have reached the darkest point of our northern year.
Reading this, people from Marlborough in Wiltshire will no doubt be horrified to discover that they live in the north but I can assure you that this is all perfectly true.
So from 11.12 onwards the northern lands are getting lighter and warmer as summer is on its way. I detest the winter and I love the summer. The winter’s darkness brings darkness to my mind but the summer brightens my world and fills my head with butterflies and laughter. I love the summer in England because the rain is warmer than it is during the rest of the year and you don’t have to listen to people banging on about the X Factor.
This utterly incredible shift in gear this morning marks the start of a new year. A time to sweep out the old and welcome in the new. A time to rejoice the death of the crone and the birth of the infant year. To mark the occasion, as always, I shall be shaving my head, varnishing my teeth, rubbing a bit of Brasso on all my intimate piercings and painting my cat purple; and I urge you to join me.
Today is a good time to make changes to our lives. Astronomically, today is New Year’s day so I shall be kicking off with all my resolutions which this year include bringing an end to war, famine and pestilence in the Third World, being kinder to aardvarks and losing a bit of weight.
And speaking of weight loss, the other day I was speaking of weight loss with Cynthia, one of my elderly lady customers, who told me that she had bought some digital bathroom scales because her neighbour had told her they were really good. However, she was a bit disappointed with them. Ten quid she had paid for them in Argos and after three weeks she still hadn’t lost an ounce.