What do you do on a bleak, dreary Sunday in November when the sky looks like its been draped in a grey muslin sheet and everything is damp and decaying and there's a distinct lull in the air, a listnessness about the day that leaves one feeling strangely empty? Well,you brace yourself, trying to remember to count your blessings as you root around in your closet for a good fleece, a very comfy ancient woolen hat, an old raincoat and the trusty Italian galoshes! Then you call out to the dog and head off in the jeep to the bog. Everything out there looks like its been spray painted with rust coloured paint. You are walking into a canvas of golden, brown and yellow hues, the dog's tail a white banner, swaying up ahead of you. When you get home, there is the stove to be lit, the wood taking a while to catch. You make a hot toddy for your other half because he has developed a ''scratchy throat''. This weather does it to him. No matter how long he has lived here, he is still a true blue Californian, the damp kills him. When you make the toddy you add a nice dollop of muscovado sugar and a nice slice of yellow sunshiney lemon and stab it with cloves, a decent shot of Black Bush. It smells divine. When the fire catches you get a little dreamy, the old romance of returning to live in Ireland seems justified and viable. You forget about the negatives. You bless the house and the dog and the cat and the curry with the sweet potatoes stewing on the stove, and the house full of books and kindness and love and you look out the window as the sky darkens and the day closes in on itself and you wonder what it would be like if you were to be outside looking in. Standing as a stranger would, secretly observing the life within.