Returning to the UK after years in the tropics, Mark Newham discovers all is not as he’d hoped. With British winters still as chilly and gloomy as the day he left, it was as if global warming had never happened. Had he been lied to? Was the data wrong? Or had his return just coincided with one of those times when weather conditions returned temporarily to how they’d been decades earlier? There was only one way to find out. Stick around for the worst of the winter and see.

Halfway through, he began to wish he hadn’t. Climate change? What climate change? Promises of being able to leave the house without a coat on mid-winter was the reason he’d bitten the bullet and come back. While the tropics had their attractions, there were significant disadvantages for certain age people like him. Little things like crumbling medical services, soaring crime rates, ever-increasing violence, power and water outages. Things he remembered being a rarity in the UK.

By and large they still were. Shame the awful British winter weather wasn’t. Could he hack it? The decision was made for him the day the boiler failed. There was nothing else for it. Spend winters somewhere hot and sunny until global warming really kicked in. But where?

After a lifetime of wandering the world as an international journalist he already had a long list of possibilities. All that was needed was to go and check some of them out. Shouldn’t take too long finding somewhere that fitted the bill, a place where savings made from not having to pay British winter heating and eating bills would cover the transport and accommodation costs. Two years? Three maybe?

Try twenty. For time and again, just as he was beginning to think the perfect place had at last been found, cracks would appear in the façade to make him think again… and resume the search elsewhere. In thirty-something locations across six continents.

Was there nowhere that ticked all the boxes on his perfect winter refuge criteria list? It was beginning to look very much like it.

Published 30 November 2022, Snow-Dodging for Umpteenagers is available in paperback and e-book formats quoting ISBN 978-1-7396498-0-7

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