This year will be different to last year. No doubt very obvious but the real difference is that this year people are prepared to talk about hard times coming; and they are. If property is an indicator of recession, then we are already well into one. In the South West the developers stopped buying land some months ago, and a number of transactions that with a fair wind would have completed well before Christmas were turkeys long before that. It is not all bad news. Read Luke Johnson’s The Entrepreneur column in today’s FT. I am sure we are at his grim moment of reckoning, but he quotes Euripedes, “There is in the worst of fortune the best of chances for a happy change”. As for whether the experience (of a more sober and testing time) could be character forming, probably: but don’t forget that a lot of us have been there before, and are even now getting out the T Shirt.