I got home yesterday.
The red face bit means that the keen winter Cornish breeze, occasionally subzero and laden with salt from the sea, has scorched my cheeks and chin. It's gradually come on, and reached its worst state while coming home from Cornwall yesterday. The skin was quite raw, flaking, and incredibly itchy. Since then, applications of E45 cream, calamine lotion, and aloe vera gel have eased the dire appearance of the skin, and I expect it'll be back to normal in the next couple of days. But just now my face has a tight, stretched feel as if I've had some rough surgery performed on it. I don't mind if that means a few lines have vanished forever, but probably no such luck. Meanwhile I haven't wanted to go out and spread fear and loathing.
After Boxing Day it got rather milder in Cornwall, so I'm thinking that the damage was done in the first few days when it really was bitter out. Pre-Christmas, I can recall a long cold late-afternoon tramp to see Men-An-Tol, and braving a searing wind at Coverack. Then there was that cold Christmas Day wandering around Padstow, and, post-Christmas now, looking for The Hurlers (a set of neolithic stone circles out on Bodmin Moor) on a raw afternoon of fog and driving rain. Perhaps the skin damage was cumulative, and each of these events added something. Silly me.
It was so nice to be back. I was not sleeping well, and one hour into the 280-mile return journey felt dog tired. I desperately wanted to get home and go to bed. I managed it by 4:00pm, just as it was getting dark, had unloaded by 6:00pm, and then, after an easy meal, flopped. I wasn't feeling too good.
Today has been better, but I've not gone out. It seemed wisest not to.
Happy New Year everyone!