London and the Weather Reports

I’ve reached 5 layers of clothing for my daily cycle commute. Well, technically I have 5 layers on my top half and 2-3 on the bottom. Enough to make the act of outfit-changing morph into some kind of strange burlesque routine.

That’s the problem with cycling in winter: as a cyclist your legs are the only bits of you generating kinetic energy, so the rest is at risk of getting cold. I’ve had my core body temperature drop at least once per winter: it leaves me feeling nauseous, in pain and dizzy. The thawing of frozen fingers can be agonising.

And yet I still cycle. See the thing is, I’ve noticed how sticking to my biking principles (as discussed in my “Ninja On Wheels” post) and pushing hard against the challenge helps me stick to other principles and push hard against other challenges elsewhere in my life. In this case, I’m still going strong with my research project, even though the failures are protracted and disheartening. My motivation level is about the same as when I started the project, which is saying a lot.

If you want to imagine what winter in London is like, cycling through cold streets in the dark, then try listening to Enya’s “Trains and Winter Rains.”


The research project has gnawed its way into my spare time and designated “sleeping hours”, in the way only postgraduate research can. A few weeks ago I started myself awake in the middle of the night, and the only way to ease myself back to sleep was to write a To Do list of experiments I should run. Calmed by the list-writing, I dozed off again. Fortunately that hasn’t happened more than once and my general mental state has remained fixed at “harmlessly crazy” for several months.

Alfie: the purring, clawing, wriggling furball that he is.

Alfie: the purring, clawing, wriggling furball that he is.

The best way to safeguard my wellbeing, though? Cats. Cats are The Answer. I find stroking them very therapeutic and de-stressing, I love picking them up (they’re a nice weight to hold), I love listening to them rumble and purr. Unlike dogs, they always smell lovely. I’m looking forward to the day when I’m living in one place for several years and can own a cat.

Until then I have to rely on other people for my source of cats. Recently I have made my acquaintance with Alfie, the neighbour’s cat. In the words of our landlady “I don’t own him, he just lives here.” He likes to pop over and enjoy our attention in the evenings. He’s sussed out by now that I’m a great source of attention…


On a final note, the following picture surfaced from my time in Basel. As a language student at the Migros Klubschule (circa. last May) we were asked to model for a photography project. I should probably stick to my day job, but a picture I got from the session was immediately incorporated into all my online profiles. Now all the photos from the project are being displayed in the Klubschule, which a Basler friend picked up on.

Yup, that's me alright.

Yup, that’s me alright.

I really have A LOT of hair…


4 thoughts on “London and the Weather Reports

  1. I really like the ad: a touch of coolness to the Migros Klubschule 🙂
    And you really are a bike ninja. I love my bike, but I usually leave it in the basement by the end of October to the end of March… I’m a softie.

    I think I’ve also been “harmlessly crazy” recently and Nick suggested we get a cat in New Zealand to help soothe me. Glad it works for you 🙂

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