Hair and ice

Thursday, February 2nd 2012

Over the last few days, the temperature has plummeted, bringing a cold spell to London. While I know that there are parts of the world where a temperature in double figures below freezing is not unusual, London is not one of those places. If ever the thermometer ventures towards 0° Centigrade here, we feel uncomfortably chilly.

For this reason, I haven’t been out much lately, preferring to stay at home making frequent cups of tea and coffee and giving the heating system a little nudge every now and then. Today, however, I decided I needed to get my hair cut. I peeked around the curtains (in winter we keep them closed because our Georgian window frames are apt to allow too much freedom to cold breezes from outside) and the view was promising: the street was bathed in bright sunlight.

As soon as I stepped outside the door, however, I was hit in the face by an icy blast. It was cold, very cold, very very cold. Bravely, though, I put my best foot forward and strode tigerfully down St John Street to the corner of Rosebery Avenue where my barber has his shop.

I was slightly annoyed to find that the two assistants were people I did not know. I assume that both of the usual barbers had decided to take the day off and had been replaced by agency staff. In my experience, every barber has a different way of working and produces a different result. If you don’t know the barber, then you don’t know how the haircut will turn out. Such things ought not to bother me, perhaps, but they do. I could have put the haircut off for another day but I decided that now I was here, I might as well go through with it. Hair, after all, always grows back.

Afterwards, my instinct was to make a dash for home and brew a warming cup off coffee, but instead, I courageously took a slightly roundabout way back. In the event, I was rather glad I did.

Frozen fountain
Frozen fountain
Encased in ice despite the sunshine

This is because I came upon the fascinating sight of a frozen fountain. Despite the cold, it had been left running and was now encased in ice so that it somewhat resembled one of those bottles that restaurants use as candlesticks, leaving the runnels of wax that have dribbled down the neck as decoration. There was some running water coming out as well, but no more than a rather pitiful trickle.

I stood and admired the fountain for a while, as I was in a slightly sheltered position, and then set off homewards. By the time I reached Myddelton Square, my face was so cold that it was beginning to ache. My mother would have called this weather “bitter” though I think “biting” would be a better world for it. Nonetheless, I stopped again, and took out my camera…

St Mark's Church
St Mark’s Church
Bathed in sunlight behind naked trees

Normally you wouldn’t be able to see St Mark’s Church from this angle because of the trees but at this time of year they are without leaves and the church is only slightly veiled. You can see how bright the sunshine was and how clear the sky: that sky promises a cold night and another cold day tomorrow.

That was enough for me. I put away my camera, and strode determinedly in the direction of home, emitting the occasional expletive at the cold as I went. Reaching home and coming into the warm was a moment of relief and pleasure. And yes, I did make coffee and drank it hot.

As for the haircut, I’ll let Tigger be the judge of that. And it will, after all, grow back. Eventually.

Copyright © 2012 SilverTiger,, All rights reserved.


About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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8 Responses to Hair and ice

  1. Giselle says:

    That frozen fountain looks beautiful. Thanks for posting a picture of it and I do hope you’re not too unhappy with the new haircut.
    Kind regards, Giselle

    • SilverTiger says:

      I was lucky that the sun was in right right direction for the fountain photo as there was only one place from where I could see it.

      The hair is a bit short but it will grow back! 🙂

  2. Big John says:

    My mum would have said that it .. “was cold enough for a walking stick” .. 🙂

    • SilverTiger says:

      Mothers are often sources of quaint expressions of obscure origin. Mine would often describe an angry person as being “in high dungeon”, presumably because “dudgeon” was not a word in common usage.

  3. WOL says:

    “Colder than a wedge” — which phrase my mother uses without understanding its meaning simply because it was an expression her older brothers used. Our high temps are supposed to dip down to the low 50sF/10 C with our lowest lows predicted to be around 26F/-3C. One can appreciate how stiff the wind has been there recently by the frozen spray to the right of the fountain basin. Between the breathtakingly blue sky, the breathtakingly cold wind, and a too short haircut, I’ll bet you were glad to get back inside.

  4. Mark Elliott says:

    “The hair is a bit short but it will grow back!” Lucky you! Every time some of us cut our hair, we’re not sure exactly how much will grow back. Haircuts in Winter? For the young and the daring! A most enjoyable posting. Thanks yet again.

    • SilverTiger says:

      As you can see from my previous post my hair was beginning to look scruffy (like the rest of me) and action seemed necessary.

      Strangely enough, my son is now rather bald (a trait in herited from his maternal grandfather) but mine continues to grow.

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