LIKE most people, I can’t wait for winter to pack its bags and get out of town. I am with the bears on this, and would quite willingly hibernate from mid-November to round the end of March

I would lose out on Christmas, but missing the Queen’s Speech and the John Lewis ad are sacrifices I am quite prepared to make.

I hate having to defrost the the ice block that is the car every morning, scraping away thick accumulations of ice with a CD case featuring Elias and his Zig Zag Jive Flutes and other memorable combos. I haven’t got the CD – just the case. Every winter I marvel at the fact that while almost every car has a heated rear windscreen, very few have heated front windscreens, indicating that motor manufacturers bizarrely believe it is more important to see where you have been than where you are actually going.

I cannot understand folk who get all excited when it starts to snow, though I must admit that after an impromptu “can and a candle” party during a snow induced power cut some years ago rash promises were made that all partygoers present would make a giant snowman the next day to shake off communal hangovers. We duly did make a 12-foot monster that morning, but I can’t remember much about it – the head fell off and struck me a blow which gave me a bigger headache than the one I was already nursing,

I have seen more than enough of the white stuff. Every so often, Mrs Hextol will start browsing cruise brochures and gently hint that for little more than an arm and a leg, we could go and look at glaciers in Alaska, or sail up some chilly Norwegian fjord.

I merely look pained, and declare: “I can do cold at home for nothing!”

I do love cruises, but only to perpetually sun soaked Caribbean islands where that odd shaped rock turns out to be a basking turtle and rum tastes like liquid gold.

Others swear by skiing holidays, but to one who struggles to stay upright even on a non-slippery surface without having two planks strapped to my feet, I fail to see the appeal. Two work colleagues once went off on separate skiing holidays – and both returned on crutches.

It’s not as though I haven’t experienced periods in snowy climes. Some years ago, I was sent to Canada to accumulate background information in order to write a blurb for a Courant reader holiday – I got all the rotten jobs – and stood on top of the precipitous ski jump in Calgary, which is emblazoned with photographs of arguably the least competitive sportsman ever to leave these shores – Eddie the Eagle Edwards.

He finished last in both 70m and 90m events in the 1988 Winter Olympics, but he remains the biggest name in ski-jumping – no-one remembers the winner!

I also went climbing in Glencoe one Easter with pupils from Prudhoe High School, and somehow made it to the top of the 3,350 ft snow covered peak known as Buchaille Etive Mor. We camped out, I dangled over a 2,000-foot drop while attached to two 14 year old girls by a slender rope, and fell so heavily on my backside on the way down that I developed a staggeringly painful third buttock

I remember the cruel winter of 1963 when it snowed on Boxing Day and the grass did not reappear until April. I managed to lock myself out of the house one day and tried to shout through the letterbox for my mother to let me in. My lips and tongue instantly froze to the metal and I spent many painful minutes super-glued there, until my brother wrenched me off the door leaving several shreds of flesh hanging gorily therefrom.

This winter has already been pretty testing, with horses needing to be fed and watered no matter what the weather is doing.

Traversing the micro-climate of Hareshaw Common in an elderly French car can be quite an experience, when the road is wreathed in freezing fog, or you find yourself driving into a curtain of thick snowflakes the size of half crowns or pirouetting on sheets of black ice.

Then when you get there, there is the laborious task of freeing off frozen pipes with a Calor gas burner, before trying to chip holes in the ice of overnight water buckets. Give me a lovely summer’s day every time!