One of the pleasures of living in La Cañada is the stimulating changes in weather from one day to the next.
Without warning, the maximum temperature may shoot up from chilly autumnal to scorching summer, as it did a few days ago. Or you can sit out on a perfectly still evening, reading a book perhaps, only to find the area covered with pine needles the next morning from a strong wind that blew in during the night.
But one change goes largely unremarked, though we all know what it feels like: the big swing in temperature within the same day. Although we treat it as natural, the range here is much wider than that over much of the world so we have more interesting changes by the hour too.
Last Saturday, I looked up some places where I've traveled in the last year or two. On that day the low and high in La Cañada were 60 Fahrenheit and 76. When I got up in the morning I put on light sweater. For lunch, which I ate outside, I changed to a short-sleeved shirt and in the middle of the afternoon I wore shorts. As the day wore on I reversed the process like a strip-teaser doing two shows a day.
If you ever feel blue and want to cheer yourself up, let me suggest you do what I do. Look up the weather for a small town called Glossop in Northwest England, near where I once lived, and which has similar geographical features to ours: it is on the first line of hills facing the incoming Southwesterly winds from the Atlantic. On that day, the lowest temperature was 35. The highest was 43. You'd wear a thick sweater all day and, given the dankness of the climate probably still feel cold.
Ok, you say, but Britain is an island. Choose somewhere on a Continental landmass like we're on. So what about St. Petersburg? Much colder, of course — so you'd need an overcoat. There the low was 34, the high 38. Four degrees of change compared with 16 here.
OK, again you have an legitimate objection: St Petersburg is quite untypical of Russia. Like La Cañada and Glossop it faces southwesterlies coming across an ocean. So, let's try land-locked Moscow, with a maximum of 27.
That's more like it, you say. Everyone knows how the mercury plunges overnight there as the wreckages of the two most formidable armies in the world — Napoleon's and Hitler's — show. So what was it at 5 a.m., the day's low? Twenty-three. Four degrees from top to bottom. You could stay in the same clothes all week.
I could go on: in New York the range was 8 degrees, in Sydney, Australia, 11, Toronto 7. In San Francisco it was 3.
The world over, the Los Angeles hills are associated with perfect weather. We all know that isn't true. But just between ourselves, we do have a lot of the finest ingredients, don't we?