The last time I went skiing, I proposed to my wife on a ski lift. Eighteen years later, we were back on the slopes with our three children. Having made only a pathetic attempt to get fit, our old bodies rebelled against the strain for the first few days. However, the children, unencumbered by age, went from beginners to speedsters in the week. We were soon struggling to keep up with them. For the children, the shock wasn’t physical, but seeing snow, and so much of it, was quite an experience. It’s easy to forget, as an adult, how little snow we now get. Anna, aged eight, has only made a snowman in England twice in her life.

When I was her age, I can recall being frequently snowed in and being unable to get back to boarding school, and later, an even happier event, when the temperature plunged to -16 and Radley, my public school, literally seized up. Every pupil had to be sent home. Snow is now such a rarity in southern Britain that if we ever do get some, I’ve promised Anna that I’ll take the day off to celebrate and fly down the hills aboard a rickety sledge. Sadly, the forecast doesn’t look good.