South Park, Oxford on a dull afternoon in NovemberBack to South Park today in pursuit of my photographic project. It was more difficult today. You couldn’t really see the clouds – you just knew they were there – a dull indiscernible blanket – because, even at two o’clock in the afternoon, it was dark. Well, not dark exactly, there was just an absence of light and an absence of colour. And how do you photograph darkness?

It was cold, too. Not because the temperature was particularly low, but there was a dampness. And perhaps it was due to a blocking out of the sun. Those clouds again. Excluding light and heat.

Earlier, I’d had a conversation with a friend who comes from a warmer part of the world and we were discussing this business of the weather. She told me that the only way she could describe British weather to her mother was to say that it had “a different texture”.

My Polish neighbours have the same problem – they complain about the cold and then tell you, with longing in their voices, that the temperature back home is -20°C. “It’s the damp”, I tell them, “it’s a damp country”.

It’s those clouds. Holding in the water. If it was colder, the water would crystallize and fall as snow. Then we’d have our light back – clear blue skies, the weak light of a winter sun strengthened by the reflecting snow. But no. This is England in November so we must put up with sullen grey clouds and a land drained of heat and light and colour and joy.