Brendan Keenan: Ghosts of Christmas past will visit us for many years to come
PIERCING, searching, biting cold. The description is that of Charles Dickens in 'A Christmas Carol.' The 1840s, when it was written, was the end of what is known as the Little Ice Age, when things were a lot colder than they are now.
Some say another Little Ice Age is on the way, which is easy to believe this week. The scientists scoff at that but, climate aside, other things have a distinctly Dickensian feel to them. And a chilly one.
The Victorian attitude to finance was famously summed up by the Dickens' character Micawber. "Annual income, twenty pounds; annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six. Result happiness.