Country mouse on winter chaos

Myluggage finally turned up a couple of days ago, three weeks after a dusting of snow brought Heathrow to a standstill. We had spent five hours on the tarmac after landing, but that was nothing compared to the chaos in the luggage hall. I’ve seen better-organised food fights.

However, at least I wasn’t in Northern Ireland, where our Architectural Editor, John Goodall, spent Christmas without running water. He survived by dismembering the snowman with a saucepan and boiling the snow. It has been an unusual few weeks, with waxwings invading the garden to feast on the rowan trees, and many of us living a semi-nocturnal existence, listening in thrilled disbelief as the English cricket team humbled the Australians in the Ashes.

The weather has been a disaster for hunt finances with so many meets cancelled over their busiest time of year, but the hunts will muddle through as ever. Although there have been restrictions on killing wildfowl in many areas, the shooting world has got off lightly in comparison.