But here we are, closing in on June - mid winter - and we have yet to spark up the old fireplace and make the dogs happy. My freezer suit sits quietly on its hook, not having been to the observatory since last winter. The dew on my scope is not so fierce and the gentle breezes that waft over me when I am observing lately are more like cool summer evenings than bitey nips at my cheeks and fingers as the wind chills all it touches.
I am both thankful for the mild observing conditions and worried that the weather is lingering around near - record warmth for days on end. What's going on? I used to live a kilometre from the world's largest coal - loader in the port of Newcastle, an incessant, dusty, noisy, orange - lit monster that cast a perpetual dawn, filling the sky with dust and acid to fall as acidic dew pitting my mirrors and griming up my washing.
So I decided to get away from the appalling mess into the clear, dark skies of the country. But I did not get away really, did I? In fact there is no place to hide from what's coming down the pipeline be it 2 degrees or 4 degrees or whatever happens as a result of our fossil fuel addiction. So as I swelter on a future mid - winter evening, at least climate change has made it possible to observe in comfort. Except of course I cannot go out on summer evenings as the mosquitoes now carry malaria and dengue, and the humidity is 100% spreading mould onto every optical surface. Ah well. Next planet we colonise we will look after...... won't we?