My village (left) is under snow at the moment, so I've been giving much thought to the question of what to wear in minus zero.
If you're venturing into my kitchen, where a glacial wind has been blowing for the past week, the answer is an arctic survival suit.
Much as I love my original old windows, they are an ecological disaster. The thin panes of glass and the various gaps around windows and doors, mean that when I switch on the oil-based central heating, I am effectively heating the sky above Villiers* rather than my house.
Yesterday, while sealing up the gaps around the doors with draught excluder tape, I suddenly remembered a potential solution in my attic.
There, in a plastic crate, lay a whole load of extreme weather kit, including a pair of sheepskin lined Sorel snowboots that are good for temperatures of (god forbid) up to minus 20 - all acquired over a decade ago, during my tenure as fashion editor of a national newspaper.
A few weeks before Christmas, I seem to remember that I was called into the deputy editor's office and given a very special assignment. The (then) chairman's son had written a piece about getting married in a ski resort and I was to produce a superlative picture to match.
'Spend whatever you need to,' said the deputy editor. 'Buy anything you like and hire whoever you want. Stay on and ski for a week if you want to.' (As if! I'd never been near a ski slope until that point).
'Just make sure that you send back a bloody good picture,' he concluded. (It goes without saying that we weren't in a financial crisis at the time.)
And so my assistant and I ordered a three-tiered wedding cake, champagne, confetti and an extravagent bouquet of bridal flowers - all carefully packed into a trunk, along with a morning suit from Moss Bros and an assortment of big white wedding dresses. I then went to Snow and Rock and kitted myself out in extreme weather clothing.
The ensuing trip to Verbiers was one of my more enjoyable trips as a fashion editor. Unusually for a fashion shoot, no-one on the team had a personality disorder, and despite lots of standing around in minus 17, there were lots of perks to the assignment -namely drinking copious amounts of gluhwein to stay warm and watching members of the British army on cold weather maneouvres nearby.
I've no idea how much it cost (thankfully it wasn't coming out of my fashion budget) but the resultant picture -of the bridal couple on skis, poised in front of the wedding cake on top of the mountain - was deemed a success.
As I retrieved my Sorel boots from the attic yesterday afternoon, I looked back fondly on that trip. I'm wearing the boots as I type, along with thick ski socks, a (fake) black furry gilet and a knitted alpaca hat.
The look, which is best described as gorilla-chic meets Scott of the Antartic, is one that could potentially scare the French neighbours. (And Biff - he's hiding under the bed!) But by keeping the heating down, I'm at least doing my bit for the polar bears.
*The name of my village has been changed.