Christmas Eve, December 24th 2010

I hope you are done with your shopping, wrapping, baking and whatever. The queen says what isn’t done strays undone.

The dustbin man has just emptied our wheelie bin. I am glad about that. Gives us more room to throw out more rubbish as it arises … at Christmastime there’s a lot of rubbish about.

The tree lights have gone out. I can’t fix them. I’ve done all I know. I suppose we can manage without them if we must.

Eileen Symonds at Penistone FM, a local radio station, best heard online, has asked me for a request to be played on her ‘Gift Box Special’ programme on Monday, 27th. December. If you want to know what I chose, please tune in to Penistone FM at 10 am. You can get there via Google.

I will be going to a service at Sheffield cathedral tomorrow, if the weather is no worse, and I hope to see you the other side of the turkeyfest. Have a super time. Cheers.
Thursday, December 23rd 2010.

Hello there.
I can’t remember a December as cold as this. As I write, through the window I can see a few stray flakes of snow drifting down like fluff from a goose's chest. I have had to turn the central heating up, and I see from the British Gas cardboard thermometer on my desk that the temperature is 21 degrees Centigrade (70 degrees Fahrenheit), your ideal room temperature, it reads. In addition, I have a hot rubber water bottle at my back and another under my stocking-feet, so I feel warm and very comfortable. In fact, I don’t want to go outside until around May or June. My dear wife, the queen, says that downstairs is too warm for her. The doors (back and front) keep being opened to let in visitors or the cat or deliveries, and by the feel of it, she isn’t in any hurry to close them. She has also taken to feeding the birds and cats and any other stray from the kitchen window, so that keeps being opened too!

Looking at the up side, if the weather makes it impossible to venture out, I shall definitely finish my book before March 31st 2011, which incidentally is the publication date of THE DOG COLLAR MURDERS. The one I am working on is a great plot that hopefully will keep you intrigued and guessing all the way up to the exposé. It is tentatively called THE CHESHIRE CAT MURDERS. I’ll keep you posted here how I get on.

Moving on …
We have a lot of friends and relations, and it is super to keep in touch with them at Christmastime. And we like to do it by sending Christmas cards. We don’t do it because it’s obligatory. We do it because we simply like to maintain the contact. I expect you are the same. But this year has been particularly difficult for us. I was unable to find any cards that I thought were appropriate for the season, so I hadn’t bought any. Then we had that gigantic fall of snow and we were snowed in at the critical time, so we couldn’t get any cards anyway.

We were concerned that by not sending cards we would lose that valuable personal contact with our friends and relations, so we decided to send everybody a letter explaining what had happened and wishing them Yuletide greetings, etcetera. We didn’t want them to think we’d gone potty or had become mean in our advanced years. We didn’t save any money by doing it, because we sent the value of what we had spent on cards last year to the Save The Children fund.
Unexpectedly, several friends have phoned to say that it was a great idea.
I don’t know. It wasn’t really planned. I sent the letter to get us out of a hole. I will have to think about it for next year.

Anyway, whatever you are doing, whatever your circumstances, the queen and I wish you the blessings of Christmas, the remembrance of the holy child, peace and comfort, and have a super time whether you are on your own, just two of you, or in a party of ten thousand. A very Merry Christmas.