On a Monday evening, if I’m in my hometown, I like to play some 5-a-side footie with my fellow middle-aged men, sans lycra of course.

Recently, I went out for a game. I had a sore calf – again – so I didn’t want to let the lads down and decided I’d play in goal. It was unseasonably cold, snowing and sleeting in fact, and I had a very thin, porous set of gloves on. They got wet very early on, and so did my hands.

An hour later, the pain was unrelenting. I can’t remember having colder hands. So much so that I went grey and felt nauseous. I made it home, but my fingers were so cold they felt solid. I had to gradually warm them up, in agony, for about half an hour before I realised I was, in fact, not going to have a heart attack, stroke, or die.

I probably wasn’t that close to having frostbite, and my fingers were 90% fine the next day. I can’t begin to imagine, however, what it must be like to be genuinely very cold indeed for a long period of time. I think the body and organs must shut down and you must literally want to crawl into a ball and die.

I also know now why scaling Everest or Arctic trekking isn’t on my bucket list. Sawing off frost-bitten fingers is not on my top-1000 list of things I’d like to do.

Advertisements