November, In Defence of Leaden Skies.
Leaden skies are as British as cucumber sandwiches, which, interestingly are usually eaten under leaden skies while watching a leaden game of cricket. (But that’s another story.) Grey skies are what give us our soft climate. Layer upon layer of cloud keep us warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The English rose complexion is almost entirely due to lack of direct sunlight. That, and a good moisturising drizzle! But sadly this integral and important part of our life is almost universally disliked. And while, of course like everyone else I love a sunny day, I often prefer to draw on a dull one. The pink gold of the birch can’t fail to glint and shine in the sun. Gold on blue. It’s a tussle of complementary colours. But give me the subtle glowing embers radiating from a birch tree in autumn against a grey backdrop any time. What about the lemon yellow of the leaves of the guelder-rose and it’s crimson berries? They need a grey day to be fully appreciated. At this time of year a leaden sky is something to be embraced. Use it to look at the unknowable number of colours out there. Fill your eyes with variations on russet and ochre and amber and lime. Gorge yourself, because even I admit that by January and February there’s precious little to be said for those leaden skies.