The mud monsters of Milton Common

BLAISE TAPP: 'Tis the season to be more giving to the lonely

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This week my daughter Alyssa asked if it will snow this year. That, I don’t have the answer for.

But at this time of year it is often freezing outside, the roads and pavements can be icy, it gets dark really early and many people are suffering from that condition called seasonal affective disorder, otherwise known as winter depression.

Apparently it is very common at this time of the year and is brought on by the gloomy weather and little sunlight.

The symptoms of this condition, which include feeling stressed, anxious and irritable, are most common in January and February.

Growing up though, winter was always my favourite season and as soon as the outside temperature went below 10C I couldn’t have been happier.

I always thought there were so many things to like about winter. Of course, I could get all poetic and talk about the beautiful sound of leaves crunching underneath my shoes, the sight of snowflakes floating from the sky and the crackle of a burning fire in your living room.

That’s all great, but I’m now cautious about stepping on fallen leaves after finding out first hand that they can be a slipping risk.

Snowflakes falling from the sky are stunning, but in our part of the world it is a very rare thing to witness.

And unfortunately I don’t have a fire in my living room that makes a crackling sound.

Ever since I became a parent my view of winter has changed. I haven’t got the winter blues, but I do admit that I can’t wait for better weather returning to our area.

Portsmouth and Southsea are just so much more enjoyable when bathed in warm bright sunshine.

With a couple of months until spring arrives I worry that all the ideas for entertaining the children will have been exhausted and we’ll all be bored of being bored.

But why should a bit of rain, wind and moody clouds stop us? So, recently with my two daughters and my springer spaniel Ralph, we went for a long walk around beautiful Milton Common. Coats were zipped up and scarves and gloves were put on and off we went.

Being the middle of winter we spent the whole time dodging gigantic puddles and walking very carefully to avoid slipping on the muddy grass; apart from Ralph who decided to bomb straight through those muddy puddles.

When we returned my two daughters got straight in the bath and the water turned a muddy brown colour.

Now I’m looking forward to spring and summer when Portsmouth is at its best and Milton Common doesn’t turn my daughters (and dog) into mud monsters.