I must apologise for the technical difficulties that prevent me from publishing my photographs of frozen Carshalton and its resident snowmen but, as this is my last day at the desk before the Christmas dilemma – do we attempt the long drive North? – I thought I would send you my Christmas message: Believe.
No, not in Father Christmas. My wish for you is borrowed from Eddie Izzard, an important source of inspiration for many years. (We were lucky enough to live close to the Olde Leather Bottle where he compered at The Screaming Blue Murder Club every Sunday, back in the days when he sported Hawaiian shirts and shoulder length hair). He insists that before you become a comedian, you must believe you are a comedian; before you are an actor you must believe you are an actor…and that’s before he gets started on marathon running. I often wondered at what point I was entitled to call myself a writer. The correct answer appears to be: before putting pen to paper.
Another thought, this time borrowed from Jilly Cooper on the subject of giving, and, specifically, the giving of books. She stresses the importance of sneaking off on your own to read for half an hour on Christmas Day, not for the purpose of self-education, but because, by the time that lunch is over, everyone is entitled to a little privacy. So if you have given a book for Christmas, you have not only given someone the keys to the city of another’s thoughts: you have given a legitimate excuse for retreat to the armchair and warmth of the fire and perhaps a little peace and quiet.
Merry Christmas, one and all!