Ben Lowry: The lower angle of sunshine is a consolation of the shorter days

Horses in a field in Cloughoge, Newry, as parts of the UK and Ireland woke up to a blanket of snow yesterday. The lower angle of sun in winter means that sunshine can reach into the interior of properties in a way that it doesn't in summer. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Horses in a field in Cloughoge, Newry, as parts of the UK and Ireland woke up to a blanket of snow yesterday. The lower angle of sun in winter means that sunshine can reach into the interior of properties in a way that it doesn't in summer. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Several times over the years I have written about the sense of gloom that I and many other people feel when the days are so short at this time of year.

We are now close to the darkest time of the calendar, and on the whole I find it gruelling.

There have been long spells of sunshine in November and this month. Above, Natalie Trotter and her son Logan, 9, try sledding on the grounds of Stormont Estate, Belfast, yesterday.  Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

There have been long spells of sunshine in November and this month. Above, Natalie Trotter and her son Logan, 9, try sledding on the grounds of Stormont Estate, Belfast, yesterday. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

It is 9am before it is fully bright, and by 3pm the light is already fading.

But there is a major caveat to that sense of foreboding.

While November and December have small amounts of daylight, it is often quite sunny during those limited hours of the day.

This has been wonderfully apparent in recent weeks. On numerous days there have been long stretches of sunshine that helpto lift our spirits.

Not only that, but the lower angle of the sun means that its rays can spread into buildings in a way that they don’t in summer.

I have lived in houses over the years which have key rooms that are flooded with sunshine on the best days between November and February but which never get such sun in summer.

The sun is so high in June or July that it arcs too far above the building to penetrate as far into the same rooms.

• Ben Lowry (@BenLowry2) is News Letter deputy editor

Ben Lowry: Dublin and DUP have both taken risks in their hard Brexit stances