I am a well known, self-affirmed winter lover. Frosty mornings, gloomy afternoons, and sleet-scourged nights do it for me. Bleak rather than bright is my inspirational kick.
But even I, in my hoary thrall, can appreciate the sights and sounds of the other seasons. I mean, how beautiful is the scene below of our local church, taken last week in all its decorative setting?
The church is just a minute’s walk from my house. Given the right breeze, and the right appreciative eye, some of that blossom could be adding much needed mottled colour to my front garden.
Yes, I acknowledge the spirit-lifting effect that all of this brightness and colour brings, while also decrying the usual urban downsides: the wasps that thwart the kids’ picnics; the drone of the quad bikes; the outdoor parties that stagger on into the early hours. I know, I know, I’m getting old. Ageing along with these seasons, fading with the rhythm that seeps through our concrete sprawl and adds lines to my dry, cracking skin.
As a single entity, Manchester strips herself of her cloak and turns her face to the sun.
And as one of her children, I understand that each season has its own merits and champions. Each, like this very summer, lays claim to our affections with a Johnny-come-lately charm. But, as always, playing hard to get, (even the faithful lover), at the very moment I am feeling the heat on my skin, I turn my face to the north, looking for the first signs of those grey, laden clouds.
But if we have, for the third year running, a largely snow-free winter, then perhaps my fidelity will be severely tested. Until then: come, northern chill, come. Come and caress my soul. Throw me a stanza or two.