By the standards of recent winters, we have had an exceptionally cold and difficult spell of weather to deal with. For a couple of weeks the temperature has barely been above freezing, and has dropped to -12C in the city. In addition, we've had several snowfalls, including about 12 inches on Boxing Day, and the forecast for the next few days doesn't indicate any let up in the conditions.
So what? We live in a northerly country - what do we expect? Well, listening to the citizens complaining and the pathetic excuses of public services, we expect normal life to carry on without interruption.
Anyway, as I was driving home from work last night it occurred to me that coping with these circumstances was very demanding. I've spent lots of physical energy clearing snow and ice from the driveway so I can get my car out; but I've also spent lots of mental energy concentrating intensely on driving in fairly poor conditions. The result - I've been completely knackered by the time I get home each night.
And it struck me that maybe, for once in a decade, I've been given an faint insight to the lives of those who struggle to cope with their environment. Whether the environment is scorching desert, or involves carrying water for many miles, or surviving as an asylum seeker in this country on benefits of £35 per week, daily living requires all of the physical, mental and emotional energy that people can muster.
I hope that I don't forget this too readily when things get back to normal around here. Regrettably I suspect that I'll slip back into my comfortable, complacent, middle class, affluent, thoughtless, Western lifestyle all too easily.
God save me from my self-absorption!