Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Surviving the 100 Days of Darkness

London is 51 degrees, 32 minutes north of the equator.  That's pretty far north, my friends.  And that means that our daylight hours are very short in the winter.  When we first arrived I was warned about the "100 Days of Darkness" that were to come.  And, I must admit, it's quite a change from sunny southern California and sparkling bright Sydney, Australia.

Bike riding on a sunny morning.
In these, the darkest days of winter, the sun rises around 8 am and sets about 4 pm.  This means that it is dark when my kids leave for school in the morning, and dark when they return home in the afternoon.

Virginia Water Lake

Roman ruins at Virginia Water Lake
All this darkness can have a some negative effects.
It is estimated that around 25% of the people in the UK suffer from some form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)- ranging from mild "winter blues" to severely debilitating depression.
Jack enjoying the sunshine (and the bitterly cold weather)
And while I don't think anyone in our household falls into those categories, I have certainly noticed an increase in our slothfulness.  Everyone wants to stay home in pyjamas/pajamas, read books, watch movies and eat popcorn.

And if we're lucky enough to get a few hours of sunshine we force ourselves out of the house to enjoy it.

Swan enjoying the sunshine on Virginia Water Lake

All photos taken on the morning of January 2, 2012 during a brief burst of sunshine and blue skies.  Just a couple hours later it was pouring rain and dark again!


  1. It is definitely an adjustment, especially coming from sunny Texas. Many days I feel so sleepy at 4pm, and last night I went upstairs to read in bed at 8:30. At least the days are starting to get longer now, day by day.

  2. Miss you guys!!!! It also gets dark her early and today will mark our first day of off to school in the dark!

  3. my friend maria lives in london. she's originally from mcallen, in southwest texas, very close to the mexican border. her husband's family's here, near houston. so they come home mid-december and leave early january for london. the other night she and i were having dinner at a mexican restaurant. we ate on the patio. she wanted a photo because her friends in london wouldn't believe that she was eating outside at eight p.m. in january.

    i get gloomy this time of year, too. it's been raining now for five hours straight. hasn't done this in a while. and as much as we need the rain, i'm already eager for it to stop. i can't imagine how you must feel. those few hours of sunshine must've been blissful. :}

  4. Tanya- at least we can share the gloom!
    SC- Are you getting settled? Adjusting to like back "up over"? Miss you!
    CC- It's so true! At 4:30 my kids start asking if it is "night time" yet. Very sad. Maybe I do need a SAD lamp after all. Thanks for your comment and for stopping by!

  5. Yes, I can relate! While no one in our house is depressed per se, the 'slothfulness' has hit our house hard in the last few weeks. Even my almost 3 year old says, "I just want to stay home in my PJs mama" as if there's no point in getting dressed for so little sunlight. haha! Looking forward to the gorgeous English summer...

  6. Very different to an Aussie winter! I loved the month we had in the UK and Europe one winter but am not sure if I could cope with it for 3 or 4 months! Still, I love England and am very envious that you are living in one of the most historical and amazing places in the world!

    Best wishes and happy New Year!

  7. oh man that stinks! It is kinda like there here, but not as much. It is dark when I get up which makes it soooo hard to do it. And dark earlier too. Coming from so cal, I miss the sun!! And it's sooooo cold!

    About racism in France (the comment you wrote on my blog). It's not nearly as bad here. Everyone is more integrated, so many interracial couples that we just fit in. We are normal here and I most definitely don't feel normal in Cali. It's unfortunate, but I suppose they are a little bit further along than we are. It is refreshing while we are here. Having mixed kids for example here is nothing. A lot of the kids are mixed. Not that Cali is bad or anything, just not as normal. People don't know how to handle my husband. Here it's not like that.

    Anyway! sorry for the long comment! Oh and if you get a chance, I am haivng a giveaway on my blog! Love it if you'd enter! Have a great day!

  8. There are days that I feel horrible, so very horrible!! And at times I also feel that during winter my body wants to hibernate!!!! Hubby thinks I am crazy....

  9. hi there. came over from happy homemaker's site to say hello! wishing you sunshiny days!

  10. Nothing to beat a nice crisp frosty day with bright sunshine, though (at least in the winter). I admit I'm glad when the summer comes though.

  11. Hi, just visiting from Happy Homemaker! Absolutely beautiful photographs, this weather certainly does take some getting used to (I'm originally from Las Vegas) but I'm starting to love those crisp Winter mornings.

    Erin x

  12. yes-the winters can be long-you need to make yourself get out-once your out the winter days are great...and it makes you appreciate spring, summer and autumn even more...!

  13. I do miss the sun and the humidity and heat of home. Here in Durham, it's been so gray and with heavy, low hanging clouds the past few days. Just today, we had a fair bit of intermittent sunshine and it perked me right up. Saturday was nice too, so perhaps the clear days are coming sooner than I thought.

    Visiting from the POTMC at HH UK.

  14. I agree - it is not the rain, it is the darkness that is most difficult here. But you will love the springtime with all the flowers out! Nothing like a cup of tea and cozy blanket to get through the winter days. At least the grass is green!

    Thank you for linking to Post Of The Month Club - it is great to have you there! XOLaura


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