Friday, October 26, 2012

Haiku for the week

Last warmth of autumn
Brightens streets, won't reach indoors;
Chill October blues.

Thick-walled Chinese apartments are great for staying cool in the summer, but they soon become bloody freezing with the approach of winter - particularly if, as with my current place, you're on a low floor in a tall building and have only north-facing windows, so that almost no sunshine penetrates the walls at all at this time of year. It's still quite pleasant outdoors, afternoon temperatures getting above 70 Fahrenheit; but I'm shivering inside.

These last three or four weeks before the central heating gets switched on in mid-November are the toughest of the year. I'm having to wear pullovers and sweatpants indoors to keep the vicious chill at bay.

Still, I shouldn't complain. In much of China, they don't have any central heating, and the entire winter can be like this. People in Shanghai - much further south than Beijing, and cool rather than cold, but with a pervasive damp - tend to complain about their winters more than those of us up here in the icy northern capital.

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