I don’t hibernate. I keep active through the winter. I’m no hypochondriac and I wouldn’t insult genuine sufferers by suggesting I experienced SAD. But I can’t deny that I live for the summer. Life for me revolves around cycling and festivals and there’s no getting away from the fact that both work better with warm sunshine and long hours of daylight. I book my festivals as early as I can; it makes tangible the prospect of a distant season long before it arrives. It helps me cope with the winter sogginess of this England’s cheerless marshes, as someone may have said.
Boy, how I understand why the pagans celebrated certain key dates of the year – the turning points, the banishing of the darkness, the renewal of fertility. But Midwinter’s Day just isn’t, is it? The middle of winter, I mean. There’s far too much still to come. But today it was light as I cycled home at five o’clock, earlier in the week there were blue tits singing like it was spring. By the second weekend in February, you can believe that the end is in sight; we have passed Top Dead Centre of winter. Now we dare celebrate. We’ve cracked it.
From this weekend, the wait for the next Cropredy is less than the time elapsed since the last. I call this the Cropredy Solstice and I mark it in the calendar thus. So I shall now unscrew the cap from my hipflask and let the aroma of Scottish waters mix with those of anticipated English meadows in my mind and memory. Best of health and fortitude to all those looking forward to shrugging off winter’s clammy grip. Not long to go now.