“Winter’s Here!” – this was the slightly exaggerated headline that followed this weekend’s weather report. Having just spent 2 weeks in cool autumnal Denmark returning to Israel has been more like stepping back into the summer again, not winter, not even autumn; not by a long shot. Shorts and flip-flops again the normal dress code. However for Israelis the sight of the mercury dipping near the 20 °C level and the appearance of the odd grey cloud in sky has them running for their cupboards, digging out the thick jumpers and umbrellas whilst hastily declaring the arrival of winter. It hasn’t rained here since April so arrival of the winter rains really is a big deal. Rumour has it that raindrops have indeed fallen somewhere in the Holy Land, but I have yet to witness it, neither here in Jerusalem or down in the kibbutz were we spent this last weekend.
So although the winter rains are supposedly right around the corner and whilst I do admit every now and again begrudgingly resorting to wearing trousers during the middle of the day here for the first time in months, to declare the arrival of winter is somewhat premature – even by Israeli standards. This is the reverse phenomena of what I was used to back in the UK (particularly up in Scotland) when in March/April we would get one of those glorious sunny weekends and we’d all naively believe it to be end of winter only for Monday morning to arrive along with a new front of bitter cold and showery weather taking hold over the British Isles.