November Frosty Day

Cleared frost from the car window this morning in Sligo, my adopted town.

November is rolling into early wintery light and frosty windscreen mornings. One or two women walk nervously along O’Connell Street with their jeans tucked into purple waterproof boots. Their brown quilted winter coats fastened up to the neck , hood pulled over their wooly hatted heads. Gloved hands in coat pockets. This damp cold can be very bitter. In offices workers keep themselves warm with hot-water-bottles wrapped in t shirts. The young and frivilous venture out in just a sweatshirt pulled over a long sleeved shirt. My Columbia Titanium bought in end of winter sales last February and recently gotten boots are now constant wear . Maybe the Daily Express headline they all read was right “Coldest Winter In 100 Years on Way”. Change is coming – but it doesn’t come easily to all.

The early bird gets the parking space. No change for the meter. No sign of the traffic warden either. Early is good. Lyons Cafe is echoey and empty except for the kitchen staff. The place hasn’t warmed up yet. The coffee is strong. Maybe too strong. Feet question whether the new boots on them are going to stand up to a cold winter. Viewing out the window – pink yarn bomb is gone. High heels clack on the wooden floor and the well coiffed lady takes a short cut through the cafe – slightly smiles a greeting.

Change comes easily to those who pay for their coffee with a note. But the fluorescent lemon clad traffic warden almost beats me to it. Almost. No exhibition or drawings to check. So I walk aimlessly for a bit while the town is still quiet. Its too dark to draw or paint. Read the headlines in the newsagent. Wish I hadn’t. The river is full from so much rain of late. Wish I had remembered to bring along my leica. Next time.

The sun shines at a lower angle glaring through windows and windscreens. In an instant the sky darkens and the wind changes. The dog snuggles down and hides in her kennel. Bins blow over and with a nerve clanging bang. Icy needles sting my hands and face as I push and pull the wheelie bin upright. The cat grooms herself in front of the cast iron stove with the glowing peat briquette heart. My thoughts turn to the afternoon movie – slide into another world – the hero saves the day.

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