It’s a wet and windy Saturday morning with a low, grey sky. Whilst walking the dog out at Berthem my better half spoke about the word ‘spleen’. She likes the word, an English word, and she had been reminded of it by the title of a poem by Baudelaire, Spleen, in the Fleurs du Mal collection. The poem begins thus: ‘Quand le ciel bas et lourd pèse comme un couvercle.’ It was such a good word, she explained, that Baudelaire had used it expressly, in preference to any French word. And because he had used it, it was now an accepted part of the French language. Here’s a French definition: ‘cafard, chagrin, tristesse, mélancolie, nostalgie, idées noires, passage à vide, taedium vitae.’ And here’s an English definition: ‘lowness of spirits, moroseness, ill temper, spite.’ Thank you, Charles.