How to be happy in the gloomiest, darkest days of winter: find yourself a cosy pub and stay there
What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?" John Steinbeck surely talked a good game, but I wonder if he ever had to endure an Irish winter?
As we wade slowly into mid-October, the grim portents are everywhere - pincers closing between morning and evening, thermostat on, constant anti-freeze reminders and that bag of coal you always forget to bring home. The biggest headache is undoubtedly the clocks going back - a particularly wicked form of daylight robbery that has surely outlived its usefulness in 2016. An extra hour in bed versus afternoon darkness at the edge of town? It's a poker game with a crooked deck.
Bad enough we have Bryan Dobson and Eileen Dunne reminding us with arched eyebrows to re-set our bedside clocks, we must awake tomorrow week to confront that annual journey to the technological dark side to grapple with digital timepieces in the car, oven and boiler, all of which predictably confuse our commands.