Now that it’s winter, the nights have been drawing in (like colouring in, but more lyrical) and it’s been getting darker…sooner. In London, night time was a bit: weh…we have streetlights, so, whatever. Out here it is black.
There is dark and there is dark. Dark used to be, for me, that the streetlamps came on and cars used their headlghts but it was never so dark you bumped into stuff or held hands with strangers. Here it is so dark that if you start walking in the wrong direction you might get into a spot of bother and grab at branches wildly. So you need to carry a torch because it is really disconcerting when you’re walking not being able to see your feet – I don’t know why, I never look at my feet when it’s daylight.
I have also discovered what all the cruddy lighty thingy-me-bobs on the car do. How you can change how bright the dashboard lights are (which is a total no brainer: the brightest they can possibly be, obviously), what angle the main beams are (again, another no brainer: angled so you can light as far ahead as possible. What is wrong with car makers? Are they thick?) and fog lights, which I never have quite fully understood: can you only use them when it’s really foggy? How foggy? Is it an offense if it’s not foggy enough?
Just as a quick aside: why do car makers insist on labeling all the controls and warnings as symbols? I know it must be to do with mass production and all that, but I would like buttons and warnings that say: Fog lights. Big lights. Your battery is shafted. You have no coolant left, go shopping. Your tyres are a bit on the squidgy side, get pumpin’.
Every now and again I get a warning with a big snowflake symbol and a temperature reading. What does it mean? It’s snowing? It’s not, I am looking out the window and there is no snow. It’s cold? Thanks, I’ll pop a coat on when I get out. There might be icey roads? Maybe! There might be monsters! Just bloody say! Why do I have to decipher modern day hieroglyphics just to turn the lights on? What’s with the advice anyway, leave me be…
So, I use the big lights when I’m driving around at night, remembering to switch back to regular lights when someone comes in the other direction (another thing: what are the crappy lights for? So people can see you? Put the normal lights on, then they’ll definitely see you…) and it’s all very exciting…because there are no streetlights here; there are a few, obviously, but they have a magical, mythical status and are treated with distrust and fear (sorry, that’s bollocks, but I thought it was quite funny).
There is a good side to all this: you can see the stars so clearly that they practically light your way home on a clear night and that really is magical.