3 January

Here in the north of England at this time of year the weather can be very variable. We live in a farmhouse far from the main road along a single track lane. For several years in a row we were snowed in, access only by 4×4 or Shank’s Pony. One particular winter it snowed in the first week of November and finally melted in March. I appreciate that for much of the world that is the norm, but that was particularly taxing for us and I did start to weary of the white stuff.

This year has been very mild, there have been a couple of sharp frosts, but generally I’ve been out walking the dogs with only a jacket, not even gloves or a hat.

If the truth be told I do like a good clear and crisp winter day but as long as I can get outside and blow away the cobwebs and stretch limbs that have become stiff with inactivity over the holiday period, then I am happy regardless of the weather.

There is something about going outside for a walk in the winter that is, I think, special. During the warmer months there are plenty of people outside but when the frost and snow arrive only a few keep up the walks. There is a certain camaraderie in passing a fellow walker edging across the ice, testing the depth of the snow with their stick

Whatever the weather, take some time to go outside today. Even if you live in the middle of a bustling city, go outside and have a look at the world around you. Notice the little things: the slightly wonky “For Rent” sign in a window, the colour of the dead leaves in the mud. Can you hear birds or a train perhaps in the distance? What colour can you see everywhere.   I did this exercise once in Glasgow one Saturday afternoon and suddenly all I could see was red, red coats, red bags, red hats, red signs in shop windows. What will you see if you step outside?