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Sunrise From The Train

The weather let up a little today. This morning when I set out for work it was only minus three, and when I set out from work to go home I didn't even put my hoods (one fleece, one sailing waterproof) up. There's been a chunk of compressed snow by the bike shed all week that's as hard as, and even more slippery than, the iron and concrete walkway it's covering, but this evening it was taking footprints and gradually getting kicked away.

I'm in two minds about how much I mind. One on hand, the novelty soon wears off crushingly face-burning cold when you've got to commute in it. The trains have remained flaky, and bike journeys were possible but used up valuable reserves of time, concentration and stoicism; the prickling, tangible warmth that lasted for about half an hour after getting back indoors was delightful, but I'm not sure I could call it worth it. It's a relief to not have to think about whether I've sufficiently swaddled every extremity before I walk out of the door.

Then again, two things. Elfstedentocht, obviously; its fate is still uncertain, apart from that pretty much every weather authority agrees there's only til Sunday, max, and then everything goes back above zero and it's definitely off. There's plenty of ice around parts of the course, but not enough in the south and south east, and though today's only supposed to be a minor upwards blip, temperatures are not expected to reach down to the minus teens again. It would be nice to see it, is all, though seeing the fuss and anticipation is fun enough.

The second is even pettier. I have just redeemed the Christmas present IOU I got from Chris, for one set of proper warm baselayer thermals, scuba diving, for the use of, once we had chance to go somewhere and try things on. Thus today I am wearing undershirt and long johns made of finest 260 gsm New Zealand merino wool, and they're lovely, (close but not tight fitting, very soft to the touch, the drape moving against the top of your calves as you walk, just enough to remind you they're there) but since it's not as cold, I'm not testing them as hard as I could. I'd like to know how they'd have done on the bike ride from Schiedam in minus fourteen yesterday, and whether that meant I could have faced taking my gloves off again to take more photos than these.

Delfshavense Schie

Fragmented Ice
This is one of the big shipping canals through the middle of Rotterdam, the Delfshavense Schie, which froze, and then got broken up by passing ships, and then got frozen again. I don't know if that's happening every day, but I really like the big pattern of plates over in the main channel part.

(Actually, I have discovered that my hands do still get unusably cold beyond a certain point, by means of stopping to take some photos on the cycle home at the Amsterdam end tonight, such as I can with a 5 mp cameraphone, albeit one with a 'night mode', because there are skaters

Keizersgracht skaters

(the blurry ones are skaters) on

Prinsengracht Skaters

the canals.)

But never mind. I'm sure I'll go diving in four degree water in the new thermals soon enough, and that burns your face just like minus fourteen in air. In the meantime I'm being grateful for a modern flat with excellent insulation. We've put the heating on a bit more recently, not because it really needed it but because it's nice to wander round on a warm floor. That means it's now on for two hours a day. Yeah.
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