I always thought that SAD syndrome – where you’re down in winter and up in summer – was related to dark, short days in the beginning and the end of the year for us northern hemisphere folk.

I think for me it’s more a nagging, low-level frustration than sadness. As I write this we’re emerging from my ninth consecutive winter in the west of Ireland. It’s been a very damp, windy, mild winter. This morning – April – it snowed. Anyone who knows about global warming will tell you that it doesn’t necessarily manifest in simply a warmer climate. It also increases the extremes of weather.

It rains a lot in the west of Ireland. While we’ve had our share of storms this last winter, you might be surprised to know that in terms of annual rainfall the figure here is half of the Seattle figure. We tend to get what the locals call ‘soft’ rain; drizzly, filmy, misty rain, falling out of predominantly light grey skies. In fact, it probably rains at some point during the day – perhaps some days a couple of drops, other days perhaps a dozen quick showers – 300 days of the year.

It never absolutely clatters down and then clears up, like in Florida during certain seasons. Precipitation here is an almost constant, gentle friend, with a slight smirk on its face. The kind of smirk you want to wipe away.