Saturday, January 06, 2007

Seasons End

It's not the happiest time of year for many of us in the northern hemisphere. The Christmas/New Year euphoria is but a dim and distant memory, it's back to work and with another three months of long, cold, wet nights ahead the mid-winter blues begin to kick in. It was thus with great interest that I noticed a press release issued by the Met Office forecasting the summer of 2007 to be the hottest on record. No great surprise, considering how hot the last few summers have been and how mild January has been so far. Personally, I enjoy warm weather, but if we experience prolonged periods of unnaturally high temperatures this is cause for concern.

On a more optimistic note 2007 looms ahead like a vast tract of land on the horizon waiting to be discovered. Forthcoming events of note include the banning of smoking in pubs in England, something I look forward to immensely. Around this time last year I was in a pub in Dublin by which time the Irish smoking ban had been well established. The difference was almost tangible. The air inside was so much fresher and leaving the place without my clothes reeking of smoke was such a relief. Hopefully such bans will discourage smoking particularly among the young with the possible knock-on effect of smokers cutting down on drink by not going to their local pub. And with less pollution in the atmosphere, the effects of global warming will decrease and we will have pleasantly warm summers without the risk of overheating. OK, maybe I'm being overoptimistic here, but going into a brave new year you have to look on the bright side of life.


Antonio from Italy said...

So far the winter hasn't showed up over here yet. The temperatures are so high that some trees blossomed and some animals didn't hybernate. Bears, for example, are still wandering in the woods in some places.
The smoke ban in England is a great news. In Italy cigarettes were banned exactly two years ago, January 10th 2005, and it's a great new way of living in restaurants and bars. But, please, can you tell me if this ban will be effective in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well?

Have a wonderful new year, Ciaran!

CW said...

Happy new year, Antonio. Yes, it definitely seems like winter has warmed up lately. We've had no snow or frost so far over here. New York even had temperatures of 20 degrees celsius.

The ban on smoking in pubs has already taken effect in Scotland, it will apply to Northern Ireland in April and in England & Wales this summer. Naturally there's been a big outcry from disgruntled smokers, but like anything else people will get used to it. It's not that long since smoking was allowed in offices and most public places, so it goes to show how times have changed - and in my opinion for the better.