Winter is a confusing time for students. 9am lectures feel like witching hour. Though a bit too old for Christmas, we’re nevertheless dependent on the presents and get the same festive hangover once all the excitement is over – though by now it’s combined with an alcoholic one too. There’s the high hopes dashed once again by the nemesis that is New Year’s Eve, the exams, the house hunting, not to mention pressure to quickly transform into a functional person through the strict attendance to ludicrous resolutions. If Shakespeare rewrote The Winter’s Tale with students in mind, it would most certainly have been a tragedy.
But it’s the snow that really tips it all over the edge. The roofs of the student area dens of iniquity are dusted deceptively with a virginal blanket of snow. Yet as soon as Hyde Park is imagined as a mystical mountain village, full of rosy cheeks, ale and fondues, the snow on the ground starts to resemble the grey mush that is probably similar to a brain after a hangover. My mother says there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. The good daughter I am, I wrap up so warm that I become the Michelin man, yet it still isn’t enough. But how can I take the next step and don a balaclava without implying I’m a big man about to rob a granny? Also, it’s the shoes that get me. Despite spending a small fortune on furry type boots, they soak up the slush like a sponge. The lack of grip also leaves many resembling an overgrown Bambi as the novelty contestant for Dancing on Ice. You know chivalry is dead when it is a hollow laugh that greets you with face in snow, rather than a helpful hand. After undertaking what must be described a treacherous trek to Uni, you arrive to fling off layer after layer, a most tantalising and deceptive striptease, the sad finale of which is to whack your friend in the face with a glove. You try to cheer yourself up with a cinema visit only to leave as the umpteenth member of the Les Miserable cast, gently singing the melancholy blues only to be scolded by a housemate for sounding like the small, feeble child at school who was always shoved to the back.
So how is one to survive? Some of the answers seem rather phallic. You should wear one of those bobble hats that turn up at the bottom so that your head resembles another less savoury head. You don’t play in the snow but become the latest ‘peniscasso’, because sculpting snowmen is a strictly past tense pastime. And lastly, if you opt for the old penguin tactics to ‘share the warmth’ with your body heat, don’t forget the old(ish) adage, “don’t be silly, wrap your willy”. Not in a scarf.