So it occurs to me that readers down south might welcome a bit of advice on dealing with the ice and snow. Here goes:
- Be a Westie. We have inbuilt thick fur coats and compact bodies that retain the heat well. Just make sure your owner doesn't drag you off for an unseasonal trim (or worse, a bath). But biting the hairdresser, as I did once, is a tactic to be used sparingly.
- Four shortish, widely set legs are a great aid to balancing on slippery surfaces, although I admit that slightly longer limbs would be an advantage in deeper snow falls. If you have a mere two legs, then live in an area where the streets and pavements are gritted regularly. (In this household we suspect there is a black hole which swallows up all the council gritting lorries when they try to enter Ferryhill).
- Wear a proper overcoat. I have a nice distinctive red one, which is both flattering to my colouring and stands out well against a background of snow and ice.
- Cultivate the art of shivering. And looking pathetic. It is a very effective way of ensuring that the central heating is turned up a notch or two.
- Don't be afraid to refuse to go outside. Even the most enthusiastic walker will recognise that there are limits. If the weather's really too foul, I find that I can make the point quite clearly by trotting down the garden steps to the street, then at once performing an emphatic about turn, running back up to the front door and not budging until I am let back into the house.
- Finally, do embrace the opportunity for a good roll in the snow. Yes, you humans too. So therapeutic!