It's the darkest, the shortest and today has been the rawest, day of the year.
Like the Atlantic rollers crashing against the barnacled, primordial black rocks of Land's End, the hordes of Christmas shoppers bump and bash against each other, in the last throes of their buying orgy. Above the swirling tidal surge of humanity, tall dark tower cranes stoop impassively, just observing; their steel skeletons cold, brittle in the sodium glare from below.
These giants will have been built, dismantled, lifted, bolted and rebuilt countless times throughout Britain. Like old medicine men, they can tell whoever is prepared to listen what is to come.
They have seen a solstice or two.
They know that from today it can only get better. The weather may well be getting more and more raw and more and more days will feel ever more spiteful but the word is that a corner has been turned.
About time too.