T.S. Eliot once wrote “April is the cruelest month” but I’m here to tell you the bastard lied. It’s not April with its buds and blooms and breezes. No, it’s February, cruel and punishing and oppressive and this year (just for kicks) one whole day longer than it needs to be. Why am I so down on this poor month? Because it’s cold enough to skin ya here.

In case you haven’t heard, what with Madonna winning the Superbowl and all the other pressing North American news, Europe is locked in some sort of climate catastrophe so sagely foretold by Al Gore and David Suzuki. Apparently ice-age is the new global warming. The other morning it was -20 degrees Celsius here. I know all the Canadians are rolling their eyes but you all have houses stuffed full of pink fiberglass and vinyl windows made to withstand arctic blizzards. The houses here were constructed in the Middle Ages when people had a life expectancy of about 45 minutes. I’m guessing hypothermia was second only to bubonic plague as the leading cause of death.

I shouldn’t joke because hundreds of people have died in Europe over the last week due to the cold but it makes no sense to dwell on the tragic so back to me. So far we’ve been lucky; no snow, the housette’s heating system works well and the blue bubble car heats up quickly, for those of us who are allowed to use it.  Neil is still banned from driving (more to come on the neverending driver’s licence saga) and has to brave the frigid temperatures for his bakery run. What that man will do for dough never ceases to amaze me.

Anyway, it turns out that the reason it’s so cold is some giant high pressure system up in Siberia, the same pressure front that gave us the heat wave during the summer; the gift that keeps on giving. I can guarantee you when I signed on to move to France I did not once think about my life being so influenced by the vast Russian plains. And quite frankly I’m resentful, the nerve of that crowd! The only thing that would melt my frosty attitude towards them would be an enormous bottle of premium vodka, it’s the least they could do for me. They could just leave it gift wrapped on my front step, it’s colder than my freezer.

I can’t believe it’s colder here than it is in Canada. What can I do? Rien. The forecast shows no let-up any time soon. It’s only the 8th of February, 21 vicious days to go. I’ll have to wait it out and hope that the Russians come through sooner rather than later. How are you staying warm?