Yet again it catches us unawares like bad news we share with next-door. And yet again we couldn't get away like swallows to some summer retreat. We see mums and dads pushing buggies against the wind, stooping and struggling like us. We envy children in their icy playground, playing games with plumes of breath. We wince with age as we turn down the heat, poorer each year and stiff with cold. Nursing a sadness that needs the sun, we make tea and sit through another day. We peer through rain-spattered windows and scowl at leaden skies and skeletal trees. Next-door dodges puddles with his coated dog, greets our parted curtains like a bearer of hope. .