Given the heavy rain here at the moment, this is quite appropriate!!
I have just been listening to the radio as they were discussing letters between the soldiers at the front and those at home, and how often on both sides they tried to make light of the conditions they found themselves in. However, I cannot forget my introduction to the War Poets when I was at school and in particular Wilfred Owen, who opened my eyes to the time and conditions, even if I do not understand poetry in general! Perhaps in poetry, it was easier to be honest about the conditions than in was when communicated directly with loved ones.
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
Lots of us remember when generally it was a lot colder when we were little. The summers were also less wet too, at least in the U.K. but no-one in their right mind would think of London as being an Artic like city and yet for about 1,000 years in the winter it was exactly that.
It would get so cold that the River Thames would freeze up, sometimes for 3 months of the year. The first reports of this happening are as long ago as 250 AD and a few centuries later, the Thames was being used as a frozen road, carrying horses and carts and all the other things associated with a busy street of the time.
For much of the 14th-19th centuries much of Europe suffered from what was called the Mini Ice Age. The winters in particular were very harsh with the ground being frozen down…
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Head 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle and you’ll find an island surrounded by mountains under the cover of darkness: Tromsø. As capital of Northern Norway and home to breathtaking fjords, snow-covered landscapes and some of the best Auroral activity in the world, this is a destination that you’d be hard-pressed to forget.
Given Tromsø’s northerly position, between late November and January the sun remains below the horizon resulting in almost two months of polar nights, enveloping all life in a fascinating faux light that glows blue. It is quite an experience in itself, yet it’s another kind of light that brings in visitors, and one that comes and goes as it pleases: the Aurora Borealis. The city’s geographical position means your odds of witnessing this natural phenomenon are fairly high, but never guaranteed. Taking my chances and with my camera at the ready, I set off on my own…
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