Even the most hardened naturalists will have deprived themselves of nature in all this driech, but March is on its way. Spring will begin properly with risky plant predictions - primroses and wild daffodils, then bluebells and finally Welsh poppies. In a pond near you, tiny frogs will emerge from the water.
Close your eyes for a minute. Think of a favourite place on the coast. Tune into your memory sound bank and start to imagine the sounds that fill the airwaves. It could be the sounds from the days spent at the coast as a kid when the day felt like it would never end. Or it might be a trip to a seabird colony clinging to the cliffs and creating an intense wall of sound.
For many of us, the hooting, hollering and howling we hear on Britain's coast are a key part our childhood experiences. The British Library, National Trust for Scotland and National Trust's Sounds of our Shores project brings us closer to our coast, and the wildlife and people that help to shape it.
What am I waiting for next? Male silver washed fritillary spinning and dancing in flight, skydancing red kites, powdery pink pillows of thrift and purple spikes of spring squill on the coast, meadows filling with colour, the coconut gorse and a turquoise sea - and that's just on the coast. Lots to come!
Fast forward to 2015, and what do we think is the biggest challenge the nation faces, in which the National Trust we can play a part? It's not saving great houses any more, though we need to make sure that people carry on enjoying them and feel that the past they represent is still relevant to their lives today. No, the threat is to the health and beauty of our countryside.
Pretty much every beach had some birds washed up. At Ashridge, one of the oldest beeches fell along with hundreds of other trees. Some of our ancient and veteran trees succumbed in quite spectacular ways, with their sheer size meaning their falls resulted in a domino effect, the aftermath of which we are still dealing with in some places.
I've never been a huge fan of the butterfly effect. The idea that small changes have big effects - like the eponymous fluttering of distant butterfly wings creating the appearance of a hurricane weeks later - can, I have always felt, lead to rather pessimistic thoughts. At its worst, blaming momentous events on a butterfly lets us abrogate our responsibility to tackle big problems with the phrase - "Oh, there's nothing I can do about it".
This place, which in area is the same as 50 football pitches, is dripping with the history that encapsulates the story of the British Isles... These jewels in the National Trust crown have drawn people for a huge variety of reasons. Whether as a place to escape the rat race, a place to be at one with nature or a place to fire the imagination.
When you ask for directions to your hotel and the reply is: "Turn left at the fountain and head straight for the grand entrance", you get the sense that something pretty spectacular lies at the end of the driveway. Sure enough, Cliveden House - a majestic neoclassical country house, perched within 376 acres of National Trust parkland - is no let-down.