Our media have been extracting the best adjectives from mothballs to describe the rather inclement weather we have been having over the last few days. True, the night before last was the coldest in February for 21 years. True, we had a burst pipe, but compared to the near continent this has been almost summery! It would be unfair to compare minima between urban areas and rural frost hollows, but here is an idea of the night-time temperatures that have been experienced at some of the airports that serve European Capitals. The lowest temperature experienced at Heathrow Airport this month has been minus 7 Celsius. Paris (Charle de Gaulle Airport) had minus 11 Celsius. Amsterdam had minus 19 Celsius...no wonder they're skating on the canals! Berlin had minus 20 Celsius, Vienna had minus 15 Celsius and Prague had minus 21 Celsius. It wasn't just central and northern Europe that had the low minima. Madrid had minus 6 Celsius, Rome had minus 3 Cel;sius and even Malta had 4 Celsius, plus 4 that is!. As the cold spell slowly comes to an end here, and even more slowly across the Channel, it can be assumed that the flowery language from the newspapers will be put to bed for another year.