We’ve just arrived home after a lengthy absence and life isn’t easy. Winter arrived a month earlier that usual and it takes us quite a while to dig a path to our front door.

Then begins the lengthy process of warming up the house. During this period the mains gets overloaded and cuts out, so we’re shivering in the fading light, trying to work out which of our complex system of electric circuits needs attention. The lights come back on, thanks to study of the circuits we’ve kept on the laptop, but then the laptop breaks down.

The house is strewn with chopped wood, half-unpacked suitcases and piles of warm clothing, ready to be piled on and off depending on our activity levels. The fire alarms are beeping because the batteries have run down.

We hunker down for the night with a hot water bottle and in the morning brilliant sunlight streams through the dirty windows. Nothing else has magically transformed itself over night, unfortunately. There is still that mountain to climb.

Breakfast would help, but tinned tomato soup doesn’t cut it. We go through the drawer to consider options. Rice. Flour. Cereal. Tomato puree. Noodles. Nehh.

The car, shut away in the garage, remains unreachable, the snow in front of it representing several days hard labour. We’re a short walk from a supermarket, but we both have heavy colds and this morning feel unable to walk even a few metres.

Then we find it, that staple arctic ingredient, tinned coconut milk. Poured over cereal, it’s bliss in a can. It gives us just enough hope to be able to imagine a future.