surinenglish

THE MUSIC MAKER

Cold comfort charm

At the time of writing, there's a sudden chill in the air as the Andalusian weather takes a distinct turn and people feel obliged to enter rooms performing that ineffectual flappy arm rapid self-embrace thing, rubbing their hands together, blowing into them ostentatiously and employing understated phrases like "it's a bit parky" or, if they're from Malaga rather than Mansfield, the Spanish version "hace un frio que pela", which is certainly not understated as means "it's a cold that peels" (your skin, presumably).

Anyway, it's sort of an accepted norm at these times that we're expected to complain about the low temperatures, but at the risk of sounding wantonly contrary, I rather like the cold. Let's have a look at some of its advantages, then.

First, it's not the heat. As we know, summer is for people with orange skin who inexplicably like cocktails and sun loungers, not for ginger balding chaps with pale complexions who would never dream of lying horizontal unless it's on a real bed in a real house.

Next, soup. It doesn't really matter which kind, although mushroom and also chicken and mushroom and, in fact, anything with mushrooms in is absolute magic (no, no I didn't mean that). Nothing beats your girlfriend cupping her hands around a mug of steaming soup, smiling sweetly at you as you return her gaze while she thanks you for the snazzy fingerless mittens you bought her for her birthday in July although, at the time, said gift nearly broke up the relationship. Or maybe it was the book on slimming.

Anyway, another brilliant thing about the cold is that it means you can partake in sporting activity without leaving the hallowed arena/pub darts room in a film of perspiration and gasping for medical help. Granted, the first few minutes of a Sunday league football match can be a bit painful as the goosebumps on your thighs chafe and a ball smacked at your purple legs by the opposition's chief bruiser is never a pleasant experience, let's face it. Still, it builds character. And chilblains.

What better, then, after the game than a hot shower? Well, a hot bath actually. This is surely the crown prince of winter delights. Sinking steadily into the warm embrace of a few gallons of water and myriad suds will never fail to rejuvenate the most weary of spirits and, even better, you can take your mug of mushroom soup in there with you. The only drawback is the temptation to keep topping up the hot water and staying in there for all eternity or, alternatively, until all of your skin peels off.

This, of course, would make our Spanish friends quite right - hace un frio que pela.