Winter Sun

  I love winter, really I do. Its just that, aside from Christmas, its not quite on a par with the other seasons.

   Spring is the wonderful time of the year when flowers begin to blossom around us, yet tree branches are still bare enough to easily view birds returning home – one of my favourite hobbies is taking my camera to the park, looking for the perfect shot of a robin nesting or a magpie stoically waiting above. There’s no better time to do this than in the crisp few weeks before summer blooms.

   Autumn, too, is a wonderful time for watching nature – leaves turn brown and fall to the ground, providing crisp new carpets for us to admire. Squirrels excitedly plan for the coming cold, burying their food in burrowed pockets of earth. Nature is preparing itself for the blanket of winter and the fresh start they will seek once spring dawns once again.

   In terms of absolute contentment, though, there is no season like the summer – the warmth of the sun’s rays and the clear blue skies which last from the early hours until the late evening grant serenity to us all. Is there any feeling as good as the one that comes from laying back and simply doing nothing whilst the sunshine envelopes us?

   Yet, as with all seasons, summer lacks permanence. The joy, the euphoria, of the season is fleeting – we radiate in its charm but, before long, the circle of life has turned and the green around us has begun to brown, the sun has started to retreat.

   As such, as we hit the winter, the coldest season of them all, its not unnatural to pine for the months we’ve left behind. As a Yorkshire stereotype who overcounts his pennies, one eye always on his bills, and considers “turning the heating on” as “a Christmas miracle” rather than a necessity for staying an appropriate temperature at home, it is little wonder my mind begins to wander to destinations with warmer climates. There’s an old saying for those who fancy cracking open a beer but can’t justify it too early in the day: “It’s five o’clock somewhere.” As my daydreams reach backwards to the summer, I mentally paraphrase that sage wisdom as I consider my next holiday: “It’s summer somewhere.”

   Unable to countenance the idea of waiting up to another eight months for my favourite season to return to Britain, I’ve begun to cast my mind to shores further afield – it might be winter but, if I travel smartly this season, I’ll be able to pick up the feeling of summer with a quick vacation.

   As noted earlier, I’m rather frugal with my money so, whilst investigating options, I’ve found my eye turned towards the short-haul specialist  Holiday Gems .

   A quick perusal of the site, and the destinations they are offering, does nothing but sharpen my dreams of clear blue skies and hot rays of sun, but adds the tranquillity of the ocean and the calmness of a sand-filled beach to my mental inventory of where I’d like to head.

    The obvious choices I had in mind – the Canaries, the Balearics and Cyprus – are all there. Each destination at the site boast pictures which glisten and shimmer, radiating with the placid comforts I crave. Yet, and I apologise for all the other holiday destinations available there for this, one stands head and shoulder above the rest in terms of where I’d like to be this winter.

   Knowing its going to be impossible to enjoy any form of sun in England before next summer (at the absolute earliest), I found my attention grabbed by a destination I've previously been to and loved - Malta. From the religious sites to the filming location of Popeye, its one of the most aesthetically pleasing places I've had the fortune of traveling to and, with the weather still being much more appetising than in the UK, its certainly beyond tempting as I brace myself for a British winter.

   To stave off any morose Christmas hangovers, and to see me through the dull few weeks which stretch from the start of the year through to the first shoots of new plants sprouting up at the dawn of spring, I’m dreaming of a return to Malta. The white sands, the turquoise waters, the chance to experience a summer-like environment in these lax few months, and the chance to investigate the wildlife (including wall lizards!) of an entirely different place is keeping my mind distracted from the worsening weather back home.

    It might be winter here, in the UK but, as I said earlier, its summer somewhere. And I can’t wait to dive back in.

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