I came home on the bus from shopping in town just as it was getting dusk. When I looked out of the window I could see all the houses lit up still with Christmas lights. Those dots of light on the country landscape are magical to me somehow. They signify home, warmth, being welcomed. No wonder we light everything up on these, the darkest days of the year. Soon we will tidy away the decorations - there is a tradition that this has to be done before January 6th although I know a lot of people who don't follow it to the letter. And before we know it, the evenings will stay bright for longer and we will start thinking about Spring and summer holidays and sunshine. Yes, I know we will most likely get some bad weather in the next two months. I think it was Tsar Nicholas I of Russia who said "I have two generals who never fail me: Generals January and February", referring to the brutal Russian winters which defeated Napoleon among others who tried to invade. Be that as it may, we have not seen winter until we do see what January and February dish out to us. I don't mind a bit of snow, I must confess!
For Christmas my nephew gave me A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW by Amor Towles. I had not heard of this author before but am really enjoying reading this book. Towles' first novel RULES OF CIVILITY was a New York Times bestseller and I intend to get hold of it when I have finished this one. So now I have a nice stack of books waiting to be read. Wonderful. That is the nicest thing about getting books as presents. You end up discovering authors you never heard of. (In the old days, ending a sentence with a preposition would be frowned on - I have no idea if this is still the case, but I've done it anyway, so sorry to anyone who is a stickler for grammar and style).
Not too late to wish all my readers A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!