Winter in Central Europe normally starts in November, with the temperature suddenly plunging to below zero. But this winter nothing really happened: the temperature dropped to a feud degrees above zero and stayed there, almost English.
On 21 January I left Budapest to join Helen for a two-week holiday in Thailand, where we sat around in 30° heat, avoiding the sun and letting our sweaty clothes dry. Then one day, to my horror, I discovered the weather report for Budapest said that the temperature had dropped to -16°, and we were going to be returning to these conditions within a few days.
I hoped that spring might suddenly arrive while we were flying over the Indian Ocean, but nothing like that happened and we arrived back to "Siberian conditions", as the BBC reported.
So while a few days ago I was looking at palm trees waving in the breeze I am now looking at ice floating down the Danube and getting used to wearing multiple layers of clothing every time I leave the apartment. The weather forecast does not look promising: Spring still seems to be a long way away...