I don’t like to moan but I really struggle with winter. Now that Christmas has gone, all that stretches before me is three months of grey skies. I know the sun shines occasionally. It was shining today. But for most of the winter, Ilkley is grey and cold and damp.

Perhaps we should shift Christmas? Winter is still a novelty in December. We have no need of a distraction from its rigours. In December I still savour log fires and endless scarves and getting excited about snow. By the time we stagger into February, I have had my fill of ash and all things woolly.  A big celebration then would be just what the doctor ordered.

Sadly Christmas is over and there are still months and months of winter to go. Somehow it zaps all my enthusiasm. It’s like a huge dementor, sucking all the happiness out of me. I seem to retreat into my kitchen and can’t find the strength of character to pull myself out. I wear jeans the whole time because no one can see what I have on under my coat. My hair frizzes in the damp and my skin loses its glow. Suddenly everything becomes such an effort. Marshalling the children into hats, coats, gloves etc to go out and get cold seems too much like hard work and they are happy at home so we stay in. But that makes me feel guilty and further down I spiral.

Life is so much easier when it’s warm. I can wander off with just my bag without having to worry about what I have on my feet. I can wear what I like. I can busy myself doing outdoors tasks because being just outside is such a pleasure. Even the catering is easier.

But then I have to give myself a good talking to. I live in a country where it’s cold a lot of the time. I have no real plans to change that and so I can hardly waste half my life every year waiting for the sun to come back. I need to dig deep and find the strength to grab winter by the throat and wrestle it into submission. I need to learn to be oblivious to the cold and the dark and to function as effectively whatever the weather. Or I can just sit here with my hot chocolate and wait for the spring.