HOW many times a day do we complain?

If I had to keep count I’d quickly run out of fingers.

Before I sat down to write this I was on the phone to my local council with a gripe about recycling bins. Prior to that, I’d been in the Post Office moaning about the ‘new’ plastic currency after a five pound note literally sprung out of my pocket and earlier I was moaning about the weather.

In fact, my husband reminded me, I was grumbling even before I got out of bed, when I discovered my mobile phone charger had not worked overnight.

Nothing makes the British quite so happy as moaning. We just can’t stop, whether it is the weather - rain or shine, it doesn’t suit us - traffic hold-ups, work, neighbours or the price of a pint of beer, we are there with a gripe.

A study has revealed just how much the British and Irish love to complain, moaning about something 10,220 times a year on average, or 28 times every day. Queue jumpers, pot holes, call centres, you name it, we will whinge about it.

Traffic complaints come top, with 61 per cent of people admitting to regularly moaning about jams and congestion, weather came in second (53 per cent), and being too hot or cold was named as the third biggest gripe, cited by 40 per cent of people.

For many of us, including me, complaining has become a habit that is hard to break. A moan can be a good ice breaker, opening a conversation with a colleague on a Monday morning, the day itself being a reason for a good grumble.

A moan can spark a chat with a stranger at a bus stop or in a queue at the bank: it is surprising how well you can get to know someone when you have delayed public transport or waiting in line in common.

These days, moaning is made easy, even encouraged, with businesses from hotels to theatres and shops at the mercy of the keyboard, as customers make the most of online review options to tell the world about their experiences.

I must admit I wish I’d looked at Tripadvisor before visiting Barcelona a few years ago - previous guests painted a very correct picture of the grotty accommodation booked through a reputable travel agent, but I didn’t think to look.

I had never complained online until last year, when an item I ordered from a supplier repeatedly failed to turn up. Once my complaint appeared they could not do enough. Such a system encourages firms to up their game, but can be open to abuse.

Also in the top ten gripes identified by the survey, carried out by fuel distributor Emo Oil, were money troubles, falling ill, working long hours, potholes, annoying colleagues, queueing and noisy neighbours.

Surely none of this is surprising, coming from a nation who turned Victor Meldrew into a national icon?

What is baffling, however, is that Brexit is not mentioned. I would have thought, at present, that that hot potato was top of anyone’s sounding-off list. For months the B-word has dominated every news bulletin and people are sick to the back teeth of it. On a recent train journey, I was party to at least a dozen conversations surrounding Brexit.

At the crux of our complaining culture is the fact that we British enjoy it. We would be lost without our constant stream of gripes.

Give me a traffic jam in a street riddled with pot holes on my way into work and I’m in heaven - the scene is set for a good old moan. Throw in a rain storm and I’m set up for the week.

*Today is April Fools’ Day when traditionally the papers are full of bizarre, untrue stories that some of us choose to believe. I actually believed the Daily Telegraph’s tale about the polar bear living on a Hebridean island, having drifted south on melting ice (I even sent it to my daughters) and the Daily Mail went to great lengths to stunt up a fictitious wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Yet nowadays, with so called fake news all around us, every day is an April Fools’ Day. So, if the T&A announces that City Hall is to be razed to the ground for a skateboard park, it is the readers job to decide: April Fool or fake news?