WARM PLACES FOR COLD DAYS
INDOORS AND OUTDOORS, JULIAN OWEN HAS FOUND THE HOTSPOTS THAT TURN PARKY INTO PERKY WHEN THE TEMPERATURE DROPS
January is upon us and a great chill is about us. Might I bid you draw near to the campfire, for I have much to tell you? Alternatively, walk briskly with me to the top of yonder hill, and we shall talk there. Or, if it isn’t a little forward, grab a towel and I shall see you anon in the sauna. I have no preference – the transformation is the thing; the singular sense of wellbeing that arises from leaving behind cold to become enfolded in warmth.
One freezing January, I took a two-hour drive out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, heading for the volcanic Jemez mountains. There, beneath a starry sky so vivid I felt I could reach out and wrap it up, I took a stitch-less plunge from snow-covered forest floor into a hot spring, bubbling away at 39C. An indelible memory, yet the thrill – that clash of delight and relief as one’s temperature transmutes from blue to red – is far from dependent on geothermal energy.
There’s bedding down in a campground on the outskirts of Newbury, for instance; though the heavy snow might not have paid attention to my remonstration that, for the love of God, it was the middle of April, its presence nevertheless heightened the bliss of climbing out of the cold and into the sleeping bag (memories of morning time, making the manoeuvre in reverse, need not detain us here).
The joy of calefaction – the act of making warm – is written throughout our lives: traipsing up to the back door, schoolbag dragging through slush, stepping into the solace of a steamy kitchen; a hesitant walk alongside a new love on a frosty evening, nerves and shivers melting away in the glow of the first embrace; visiting a seaside resort in winter and appreciating the apricity – the warmth of the sun in winter – to be found in a glazed seafront shelter.
We’ll talk more of beachfronts shortly. In the meantime, though, the temperature has taken a turn for the Baltic and I could really do with talking the chill out of these old bones. Here’s a handful of ideas for kindling some heat. »
2 1Nothing to lift your 1 spirits like lifting some spirits in a cosy pub. 2 If time (or money) won’t allow you a break in the tropics, a day trip to a tropical glasshouse will warm you through. 3 Getting naked in winter suddenly seems more appealing in the glow of a sauna