In the airport at Calgary, I review the last few days and realise that I have learnt:
1. In the winter, it’s more important to find a warm-cut than a short-cut.
2. Sub-zero temperatures are as different to each other as +zero temperatures. 5 degrees lower feels a lot worse, even if -25 feels as cold as cold can be.
3. If it is -31in the sun, don’t stand in the shade.
4. Pay attention to wind-chill. It tells you when your skin will freeze.
5. Extreme cold is experienced as pain. On the other hand it releases endorphins so can be elating.
6. If you need to take your gloves off to take a photo you can do it very quickly.
7. But you regret it for a long time.
8. The impact of the extreme dryness (aka very low humidity) can be almost as troublesome as the cold itself.
9. You can swim in a heated pool in air temperatures when no one would walk, ski or skate, and the steamy air feels quite good as you breathe it in. Just don’t expect to be able to see the view – or the other end of the pool.
10. While ‘the clock on the mantlepiece has nothing to recommend’ (W.H Auden), the thermometer should command serious respect.