It's minus five degrees centigrade outside. Tonight we are told it will get down to minus ten. We complain but in our homes we are warm and snug.

How soon we forget. Twenty years ago I lived in a house which had no heating other than one open fire. We used to switch the gas hobs on the cooker on when we got home in winter because it was so cold. And twenty years before that, when I was a child, not only did ice form on the outside of the windows it formed on the inside as well. My mother would come into my bedroom to wake me up in the morning and tell me that Jack Frost had been. I used to find that extremely exciting. I know for sure that I wouldn't nowadays.

Today I pray for the homeless; those living on the streets of our towns and cities; those who can only find shelter in unheated premises. I pray for the many who cannot afford to heat their homes as much as is necessary when it gets this cold, especially the elderly. I pray for those who will die because of this.

I pray for the rich who allow and exacerbate the suffering of the poor while experiencing no discomfort themselves. I pray that, at times, hell is as cold as it is hot (metaphorically speaking, of course).



  1. A mosaic tile depiction of hell on the ceiling of the Basilica in St. Louis, MO, depict it as a place of ice.

  2. Certainly, it is hot enough to burn the full quiver of a heterosexualist. [/snark]

    In all seriousness, Ms. Ellie is right, MP. This is one of your better pieces.

  3. What is really sad is that it does not have to be this way. I have started reading a brand new book, “American Gridlock”, which posits a way out of the current “us and them” thinking, and into a new understanding of truly compassionate capitalism (yes, there is such a thing, according to the author). His point is that not only is the Ayn Rand school of “I’ve got mine, Jack” selfish capitalism morally wrong, it’s counterproductive and violates the basic tenets of Adam Smith’s views on capitalism. It is only by sharing the rewards that an economy can grown and prosper. The alternative is what we have now, but what we have now is NOT sustainable for the long haul. It is an interesting read, because Woody Brock (the author) is a capitalist, and yet he trashes the most treasured beliefs of the Republicans and right wing economists as being hopelessly short-sighted and doomed to failure. His vision of the possibilities is encouraging, IF we can get Congress to move. If we don’t, the international money markets will visit the same destruction on the United States that the EU is visiting on Greece right now, and Greece WILL default under those circumstances.

  4. Here’s something I posted on Facebook yesterday in honor of Dickens’ 200th birthday:

    “You only have to look around our society and everything he wrote about in the 1840s is still relevant — the great gulf between the rich and poor, corrupt financiers, you name it, he said it.”

    — Claire Tomalin, Charles Dickens’ biographer, marking the bicentennial of the author

  5. I am so out of touch that I did not know it was that dire. I, too lived in houses that only had fireplaces for warmth and hardly anything that could be called insulation. Living where we do now, we only have a floor furnace in the living room, but our weather is never as bad out here. We think 32 fahrenheit is cold. We are so fortunate.

    Amen to your prayer.

  6. ‘Twas -14C. this morning – not terribly unusual for my locale this time of year. Those of us off the grid have to rely on deliveries of propane or heating oil to heat our houses or have to maintain a wood furnace system. The government has slashed home heating credits (not that I qualified myself) and with the fluctuating price of gas and oil…winter can be a frightening prospect.

  7. I just heard my fair locale, Sacramento CA, is being investigated by the United Nations, for its mistreatment of (its myriad) homeless people. Kyrie eleison! [And Lord, spare me from joining their number…]

    To your prayer: AMEN!

    It is cold enough to freeze the genitalia of homosexualists.

    Maybe the homelessexualists, Lisa. There are NO temperatures on Planet Earth cold enough for the former. [I speak from experience.]

  8. Well, I found a metric converter online and it says that -10C is +14 in real degrees. Glad you’re also having a mild Winter MP!

  9. There’s a description of lawyers in one of Patrick O’Brian’s books – supposedly an unpublished part of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall – that I’ll have to put up when I find it again.