I’m not compatible with cold weather

The cold snap is here. They said it could be colder than during the 2018 “Beast from the East”, at least in some places. Down here it’s mostly colder-than-usual and unpleasant, but could be worse. It’s been snowing (shudder) in many other parts of Ireland and some place in county Roscommon had -7C (20-ish F) We have -1C today and the sun is shining.

The weather is the big thing to talk about here these days! And it’s comforting to hear people talk about this as abnormal. But to a Swede, it’s also quite amusing seeing the headlines about 69 cancelled flights at Dublin airport because of the cold weather, and tips about how to stay warm…. when it’s -3. Like, wait until you get -20! Hey, I know it’s because society here isn’t prepared for even -3 for more than a day or so, and that’s grand, but it’s still a bit amusing.

And of course I’m delighted to be in a country where having minus degrees isn’t the norm!

Cold weather isn’t for me

You might think that because I’m Swedish, therefore I’m used to cold weather. And of course I am. However… being used to it doesn’t mean you have to enjoy it. There are reasons why I moved away from Sweden, and one of them is the climate. We lived in Ireland in 2008-2009, and a few years after we moved back to Sweden, I started to really suffer in the winter, from the cold, the darkness, and the lack of colours outside. The winter was like a long pointless transition period you had to survive to get to spring and back to real life. I couldn’t even enjoy the autumn anymore because I dreaded the winter so much.

The winter there can stretch from November into early April, and it would mean I would be miserable half the rest of my life if I stayed. It was an intriguing (and depressing) thought, and I started thinking of “what if we moved back to Ireland”. Short winters, more daylight, usually no snow, green fields all year, daisies in January, daffodils in February, gorse in bloom during the winter.. etc.

My husband wasn’t convinced, but during a holiday here in 2017, he came to the decision himself that we should move back to West Cork. The climate is only one reason, then there’s the social life, the music, our friends, the community. We feel more at home here. Every time we came to West Cork on holiday it was like coming home.

Then in 2018 we sold our house, donated or sold a lot of stuff, packed up the rest, and in February 2019 we took the cat and some suitcases, flew over to Ireland and went to a rental house by the sea on the Seven Heads peninsula. Later we bought a house of our own.

Minus degrees are not the norm here, at least not in West Cork. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, it’s in the very south, along the southern coast, and we’re warmed up by the Gulf Stream. Even some tropical plants are happy enough here! Winters here are usually more like 4-10 degrees (40-50F) with rain, wind, and sometimes nasty Atlantic storms. Frost happens but not frequently, and down here where we live, snow is rare.

This is the kind of winter I prefer! (This is my husband posing next to the Galley Head lighthouse in January 2020)

Running (and not) this week

My plan was to run Mondays and Thursdays.

Monday was a quite good day and milder than I expected even with only about 5C, so I went out and did 3.69 km walking/running intervals. I wore my usual leggings with two performance jackets and a windbreaker, and my beanie hat. And I did quite well – I could run more than I did last week, with no problem around the knees. I did longer intervals of running this time but still soft careful jogging, I’m not going to change that until I’ve been running regularly for a while and seen that my knees are still happy. If all is well I’ll continue to gradually increase the distances I run. My knees and legs can handle normal weightlifting now (and quite a bit of it), so I generally don’t worry much about the knees anymore! But since the knee problem was caused by running, not lifting, I still have reason to be careful.

The Thursday run didn’t happen this week. The temperature dropped to around zero, and after all those years in Sweden, I’m done with cold weather. If the temperature goes below 4C or so, then it’s indoors weather to me, except to get from place A to place B.

So on Thursday I stayed inside and did a few sets of lunges, squats, glute bridges and my usual rotator cuff exercise instead, and I’ve made a list of bodyweight strength and mobility exercises to do at home, so that’ll be my plan B over the winter.

And the forecast says 7 degrees on Friday. Perhaps I’ll go for a run on Saturday! 🙂

What’s the weather like where you are? Are you enjoying it?

Linking with Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share.


30 responses to “I’m not compatible with cold weather”

  1. Kathleen Howell avatar

    We’ve got a balmy 34 F here in Metro Detroit, Michigan. We’re usually the same, icky weather from November to April. I’m actually excited for snow this year. If anything, it adds a pretty white blanket over everything brown and dead. I’ve been walking on my treadmill and can’t wait to try yin yoga once my hip fully heals.

    1. Susanne avatar

      3 4F seems to be close to what we have at the moment. I agree that snow pretties up a dead landscape in winter, and gives some variation too. My biggest problem with snow was when it started raining a few days later and everything turned to ice.

  2. Natalie avatar

    We had a dusting of snow once in mid-November and no snow since. We’re expecting flurries or light snow on Sunday, then sunny on Monday and Tuesday, with daytime high temperatures near freezing point. With two sunny days, I anticipate if we have any snow accumulation, it will melt. I find ways to enjoy winter so the season doesn’t bother me. It’s good that you have a plan B over the winter. Physical exercises are good for our mind and mental state. Thank you for your weekend coffee share.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Hi Natalie, it’s good that you have ways to enjoy the winter, that makes it much easier. I wasn’t able to find anything good in winter in Sweden, but I’m happy now with the short and usually mild winter compared to what I’m used to, and the cold spell we have now will likely soon be over. I don’t mind the usual Irish winter so much.
      I totally agree that physical exercise is good for the mind, and that’s the main reason why I started running in the first place.

  3. Marsha Ingrao avatar

    Susanne, I love your title. I’m not compatible with cold weather, yet our cold weather is far better than yours! I shouldn’t complain as I sit at my computer with the heater running and I’m wearing my winter coat and comfortable. LOL I hope you enjoy your home in green and beautiful Ireland. 🙂

    1. Susanne avatar

      I can’t remember where you live, if your cold weather is better than here! Arizona or the likes?
      I’m very happy to live here, even if when I look out today everything is covered in frost. I know it’s temporary and will get better soon.

  4. Leanne | avatar

    Hi Susanne – I can’t even imagine what it would be like to live in minus degree temps (esp those ones in Sweden!) Here in Western Australia our winter nights might get down to single figures celcius, but during the day it’s at least in the teens. We get rain and a few storms, but nothing like the northern hemisphere – I’ve never even seen snow or ice – just the occasional bit of hail.

    I’m glad your knees are holding up and that you’re successfully getting back into your running.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Not having seen snow and ice seems like paradise, LOL! You’re very blessed to not having to experience the kinds of temperatures Sweden can get. There is a saying that there’s no bad weather, only bad clothes, but that’s BS – no clothes can protect you from the cold when it goes beyond -15 or so.
      We’re doing well here with only the -1 that we’re having now and even that isn’t common. I hope next week can be a week when I go running again on the Monday and Thursday.

  5. Thistles and Kiwis avatar

    It is summer in the Southern Hemisphere. Short sleeves here for us.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Enjoy!! Life is so simple when you don’t have to layer up to go out!

  6. Debbie Harris avatar

    Susanne, I’m happy to say it’s just started warming up here in Aus, it’s supposed to be summer so should be warm by now! Stay warm over there, I’m more a spring/summer lover and the cold is only fun when I’m inside looking out at it!

    1. Susanne avatar

      I couldn’t agree more, Debbie! I’m also more of a spring/summer/early autumn person and cold weather is only pleasant if I’m on the inside and having the fire on!

  7. trent avatar

    It can get pretty cold in New Hampshire, but not quite Sweden. We do usually have a couple of weeks where it won’t get above freezing and will often get down into the minus teens C, perhaps even occasionally hitting -20 C (colder up north and in the mountains). I am slowly moving to Cape Cod for similar reasons to your move to Ireland – the Gulf Stream keeps it a little warmer and there is less snow. What snow there is usually doesn’t last very long.
    I visited Ireland once, at New years (we did a madrigal dinner New Years Eve at Bunratty Castle). Ireland was green and not bad, but it is well north of most of the US, so, while light compared to Sweden, it was pretty dark.
    Glad the running is coming along. Going slow and careful sounds like the best idea.
    Hope you have a great week!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Minus teens down to -20C is quite cold! But as I imagine your part of the US, it is an area of nasty winters. It’s good you have Cape Cod to escape to!
      I’ve never realised Ireland was so far north compared to the US! When I look at the map now I see we’re about the same level as southern Canada – which is quite far north. It certainly gets quite dark here at this time of the year, but it changes quite quickly some month into the new year.

  8. scribble and scran avatar

    We tried to brave the cold today in the house….just got to shivery and the heating had to go on! I’m looking forward to the warmer weather!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Me too! This is annoying.. but I’m fortunate that here it’ll likely get at least a bit warmer soon! Our house is also very chilly.. lots more work needed with the insulation and things. But we have a gorgeous fireplace!

  9. Writing Sparkle avatar

    We have had -42 with the windchill a few times in December. We were unseasonably mild in September and October, so the switch in late November wasn’t too surprising. I like snow but the extreme cold is not my favourite.

    1. Susanne avatar

      -42? That’s horrible. I’m so glad I haven’t had to endure that. The coldest I’ve experienced was -31, in Sweden. we also had an abnormal warm autumn, it didn’t really get to normal temps for the season until late November. I don’t like snow either, and not too cold! But snow is worse… it turns everything to something you need to protect yourself from…

  10. Gary A Wilson avatar

    Hi Susanne,
    We’re about an hour north of San Francisco in Sonoma County (a big part of the California wine country) and our winters often hover between 35-45 overnight and mid 50s during the shorter grayer days. We used to get more rain, but this year we’ve not gotten more that 4 inches for months so that’s a problem. California refuses to build dams for the low amount of rain we do sometimes get stuck with and instead they keep tearing them down – so we now live in constant water shortages.

    My wife and I have distant family in Ireland so want to visit someday. Maybe we’ll avoid the winter. . .

    1. Susanne avatar

      I’m sorry to hear about the water shortages, it’s the same in many places but probably for other reasons (that it’s been simply more dry weather than usual). We had problems around Clonakilty this summer, and some of the autumn and had water restrictions in some areas. I try to be aware of how I use water, and use waste water for plants for example, if I know we haven’t had much rain.
      How nice about your family in Ireland, do you know where they live? Winters here are usually mild, but we get nasty storms sometimes. It certainly is nicer to visit in the spring, summer or early autumn.

  11. Maria avatar

    I can understand a decision to move to a warmer location. My little sister told me last weekend that she wanted to move to Malmö for the very same reason (made me scared due to the crime scene there..but besides that I do understand.) It would be lovely to be able to have a longer gardening season. Even though I personally love having snow for a few months. It’s a wonderful thing, and a luxury unique for our lifetime that many people actually can choose where to live. Enjoy your new week!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, it’s a huge blessing being able to choose where to live, and even in another country. Your sister should check out some other places in Skåne if the thing is to live down south. There are many lovely places there! Or did she have a reason to choose Malmö specifically?

  12. Jennifer Jones avatar

    I’m not compatible with cold weather either Susanne. Fortunately in Australia our winters are fairly short. However this year we are being challenged by winter extended into summer. We’re expecting a cool Christmas for a change,.

    1. Susanne avatar

      I’m sorry to hear your summer weather hasn’t arrived yet. I thought it was getting somewhat better! I know how frustrating that can be.

  13. Kirstin avatar

    I live in the PNW and while I’m used to all the rain, I don’t like rain. It’s not enough to make me want to move because I love the geography of the PNW, but it’s not much fun. Someone told me it was supposed to be 6 degrees here next week, but I did not see that on my forecast. My husband has visited Ireland and loves it.

    1. Susanne avatar

      I always, always prefer rain to minus degrees. Too cold weather is too inconvenient and unpleasant and especially if there’s snow and ice! I just want to live my life and be able to get from place A to place B without worrying about breaking bones! Tomorrow morning if it’s warmer as they say, I’m going out for a run, whether it rains or not!

  14. Julie avatar

    On my social media feed, one of my old classmates who lives in the UK shared a screenshot of the weather in her area — it’s -6 C. It feels too early to be that cold…or is it unusual?

    1. Susanne avatar

      December and January are the coldest months here, in February it starts to feel almost like spring. But -6 is unusually cold at any time, at least in Ireland. Scotland and North England probably have cooler weather but I don’t think it’s common with -6 there either, to be honest! We’re in a cold snap all over Northern Europe right now. A friend in Sweden had -18C!

  15. Anne avatar

    You already know that I am not a cold weather person either… and yet… I live here? I do hope o move to a more temperate climate (northern CA is tempting but the recent weather…) and the Pacific Northwest. That would put me 3000 miles from my parents, though, so… yeah. I’m here for now, but already thinking about what is next. Brrr.

    1. Susanne avatar

      I understand that. If you’re not happy with where you live and it’s possible to move… I totally recommend it. If you think it’s worth it being far away from your family. It’s not for everyone and I guess it depends on how easy it is to travel and so on.

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