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Everything I read, I come across people saying they aren’t sending Christmas cards because it’s a waste of money/ not ecofriendly/ why bother when we have the internet etc etc.

I take their points, but I would like to add an alternative point of view – one of the loveliest things I know is getting proper post. Post with nice white envelopes and stamps, containing thoughts from a friend or relation, rather than franked brown envelopes containing an invoice, credit card statement or reminder to book a cervical smear test.

Consequently I will never abandon sending Christmas cards, and I also try to send most of mine through the post, rather than hand delivering them. Admittedly my mailout is rather late this year, as I spent nearly a week trying to find my address book, but most of them are on their way right now and it feels good.


Here are my favourite cards for sending out this year. I bought two packs at the Horse of the Year Show. I always look out for cards which involve Christmas carols, as I love singing them, and the horses, dogs and sheep involvement made them perfect.


However it was a mistake buying only two packs. I did this as we have a box full of cards left over from previous years and I wanted to use them up, but once I started writing I loved the new cards so much I wanted to send them to all my closest friends and relations. Unfortunately I ran out too soon, but on the good side it means I absolutely must get to HOYS again next year so I can buy more.

Go on, do it! Think of a friend and post them a card.


I was miserable, I was gloomy, I was sad, sad, sad. But now I have just one (count it, one) two-hour class left to deliver before my Christmas break, and I am skipping about and singing.

The last thing I did this weekend, in two days full of teaching, was attend an antenatal class reunion. The parents were lovely, the babies were lovely, but loveliest of all was driving home singing along to Christmas songs on the radio and admiring everyone’s lights and decorations. I loved one string of coloured bulbs, arrayed along the front of a pub, so much that I stopped my car to take a pic. Unfortunately I forgot to balance the camera on my car roof, so the resulting shot is hideously blurry. Never mind.


The sun is low, even at midday, but the light in the woods is still good.


Willis explores a frozen puddle.


Of course, to get to these picturesque places I had to walk over sheet ice.  I was only saved from sliding along on my backside by the fact that I have abandoned fancy boots for my wellies. Don’t know if it’s because they’re rubber, or I walk differently in them, or that they support my wobbly ankles, but I am much more secure on my feet in a pair of Dunlop’s cheapest than the fanciest walking boots.


The following day we woke up to several inches of snow. Great excitement! Especially seeing as all three boys got the day off school and college. However the whiteout didn’t last long. The eaves were dripping onto me and my camera as I took these pics just after 9am, and it was nearly all gone by lunchtime.


Third-and-final son resisted attempts to make him wear a woolly hat, instead donning a plastic soldier’s helmet to protect him against snowballs. All three boys were soaking wet in half an hour, and spent most of the day playing computer games in front of the fire.

I forced myself to go into the university library today. It’s pathetic. I get so stressed and fed up about parking around the campus that I only make it in for a really compulsive reason. Today’s reason was to track down some up to date references for a lecture I have agreed to give to midwifery students. When the tutor phoned to ask me to do it, three months ago, I thought “how interesting” and didn’t hesitate to say yes. But since then, of course, I’ve got sidetracked on a dozen things and am now preparing for next Thursday in a total freaking panic.

Despite my compulsive reason, I still nearly turned round and headed for home. Students drive me bananas. They drift along in the middle of the road, either talking or with their ears plugged into their iPod, seemingly oblivious to me gnashing my teeth at their heels in my little VW. Today there seemed to be even more of them than usual indulging their jaywalking habit. My normal parking spaces were filled so I cursed my way around the campus and was about go home when I turned down a road I wouldn’t normally bother with and found a space straight away. It was also much closer to the library than my usual spot, so my mood was picking up nicely until I got out of the car and discovered why so many students were in the middle of the road – the pavements were covered in sheet ice. I have a terror of losing my footing, so I crept along on a six inch wide ice-free strip next to the wall and refused to yield to anyone coming the other way.

Once I was in the library, however, I was much more cheerful. I love rooting around in the electronic databases, and the atmosphere in the health sciences library is very conducive to concentration and sustained effort. To add to my delight, there was a Christmas tree in view every time I looked up from my monitor.


Two hours later I headed back to my car. The weather had warmed enough to turn the ice into a thin layer of slush, but to make sure of my surefootedness I shuffled my feet in every patch of sand and salt I could find. Contradictory feelings about the weather are one of the curses of being English: we bitch and moan that it’s too warm to get proper snow any more, but then when we have to deal with any of the downsides of frost and ice we grumble about that.

It’s snowing this morning in Dewsbury! Okay, so it’s just a few flakes, but it feels good to me, especially seeing as it’s also December 1.


On Saturday night me, m’husband and third-and-final son went down to the Christmas lights switch on in Dewsbury. It wasn’t as good an event as in previous years – the main attraction (apart from the lights) seemed to be rides on a seaside donkey – but it still stirred my Christmas spirit.


Below you will find the main attraction as far as m’husband is concerned. I managed to force one down, even though I was aghast at the spelling and grammar.


The hot chestnut stand looked nice and traditional, unfortunately m’husband loathes all nuts and refused to spend any money there.


The burger van was popular, although at times it seemed about to disappear in a cloud of cooking vapour.


People speaking an unidentifiable language (Romany? Albanian?) were wandering round selling flashing swords, wands and deely-boppers.


A string of lights along Foundry Street.


Dewsbury Minster had advertised a carol service starting half an hour after the lights switched on. I had thought about attending, but then we had to get home to await a call from son-in-the-middle who was on his way home from Sheffield. I did think they had missed a trick – never mind waiting for people to go across into the church, we should have had carol sheets handed out as we were waiting for the lights to go on and been able to belt out a few rousing numbers to keep us warm in the freezing fog. The Pulse FM van wasn’t enough.