Yeah, so "Cold". It was cold enough yesterday when I parked up in Kettleshulme and strode out into frosty fields under the clear blue of an anticyclone but this morning it was much colder. Nearby pavements and road surfaces were white with hoar frost and our car windscreens (American: windshields) were iced up. Poor Clint was shivering like an arctic monkey. The grass in our back garden (American: yard) looked as if it had had tubs of icing sugar sprinkled liberally upon it.
This is the first proper frost we have had since last winter so we can have little cause for complaint. Besides, it is possible to enjoy sharp, frosty weather. It can be invigorating. However, for those who struggle financially, minus centigrade temperatures always stir up these fundamental questions: "Should I put my heating on?" and "Can I afford to heat my home?"
Shirley and I both grew up in cold houses without central heating or double glazing. Wintry mornings were about leaping out of bed and getting your day clothes on as soon as possible. I remember lying in bed listening to my father raking out and preparing our coal fire in the room below. If I timed it right, the fire would be emitting warmth when I got downstairs.
My children's generation were to a large extent sheltered from the cold with double glazing, improved insulation and draught-proofing as well as domestic gas boilers pumping hot water through heating pipes. But in the last few years fuel prices have increased dramatically and now there are of course big issues with supplies of gas and electricity. We can't take it all for granted any more.
When it's cold, wise people wear warmer clothing in their homes in wintertime. Woolly jumpers come out and shorts are put away for the springtime. By wearing warmer clothes you can reduce the amount of time you need to have your heating on.
For my seventieth birthday or was it last Christmas - I can't remember, my son Ian gave me a gift that I was not at all sure about. Was it really me? It seemed unlikely. It was a gilet by Barbour - in fact a Langdale gilet costing £80.
A month ago, I thought that I would give it a try and ever since I have not looked back. I am wearing it now as I type these words and I have worn it around the house all day. In fact, I have been converted to the gilet cult. It seems an eminently sensible item of apparel to don in the cool of autumn or the cold of winter. Here I am below in my Barbour Langdale gilet looking devilishly handsome - rather like a porn star on his day off...