Winter is inescapably grey. Parking on top of the Maltings car park in St Albans today my usually panoramic view of the town and fields beyond is greatly reduced. Layers of mist - shades of grey - have walled the horizon and closed in my visual world. Drops of rain on my face give the greyness an invasive quality, threatening to absorb me into the landscape to become just another grey shape in a grey world. Only a few hours after sunrise and it feels as if dawn has faltered or that dusk is already upon us.