We’re doing pretty well for cards so far. Only one ‘Holiday Greetings’ and one ‘Happy Hogmanay’. Baby Jesus is otherwise prominently in evidence. It’s going to be interesting to see whether the next generation are getting the message. Our grandson Alex is in Year 2 of a church school so he should know his Magi from his Mechatars. If he doesn’t I may just shoot myself.

I’m suffering from a touch of EDS (Empty Desk Syndrome) having today transferred the final, final version of next year’s book from my Pending tray to the Copy Editor’s. Hip hooray, you might think. Well, yes and no. After a year living with a book’s characters letting them go causes me a weird mixture of relief and emptiness. It’s exactly the same feeling I get when any of our children have been to stay and then gone home: happiness that they’ve made good lives for themselves, sadness at seeing them go.  

Anyway, my EDS is illusory because I’m actually a month late starting the next book. I shouldn’t even think of devoting the rest of this week to cooking and general Christmas-related faffing, but I’m going to. Thanks to a  New York City-style Red Cross parcel that arrived this morning I now have the dried sour cherries I need to make a strudel. I might make a cranberry one as well. And then I have a pheasant, date of birth uncertain.  An old pheasant masquerading as a teenager can be a stringy disappointment so the only prudent thing to do is turn him into rillettes. A bit of a palaver, but hardly more so than going to the supermarket to buy a slice of abattoir-sweepings pate. Makes you wonder how I ever find time to work.

Mr F,  a Premier League prankster in his time, used to enjoy watching flashmobs in action but then they became so commonplace one got the feeling the world had grown bored with them. But check this one out. I think I see the future.

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