There is a mordant sadness, that is nearly tangible, about such a miserable February morning as this one . Normal antidotes, such as lighting the fire, and listening to Radio 4 with a steaming bowl of coffee cupped between slowly warming hands, seem to have as much chance of success as did the Forlorn Hope at the siege of Badajoz. Nonetheless, I have advanced boldly into the withering fire of this overwhelmingly depressing morning only to find that the defenders are falling like flies. Warm brioche, spread thickly with good butter and apricot jam, working in tandem with excellent coffee, have made a pretty good fist of driving out the blues, which had insidiously invaded my Sunday from the moment that I drew back the curtains this morning. The direct link between palate and spirit is clearly established as the smile on my face spreads as easily as the butter on the toasted brioche.