November fades into December and as winter arrives, so does the Christmas season. I will start with advent and the calendar.
It is the same every year, a handmade calendar with soft felt pockets in shades of red and green. They are numbered one to twenty four and every day something new and often unexpected comes out of the pocket. Whether it’s the first or the last day of advent, there is always something waiting by the sitting room fireplace.
This year it is Frances who opens the first pocket on the first of December. Next year it will be me because I am exactly four minutes older than Sophie.
Today the gift is a tiny notebook, bound with a piece of crimson ribbon and a spiralling embroidered pattern that creeps across its silken surface. Its pages catch the light of the fire, a warm glow on the texture and grains of the paper.
I look at the orange flames of the fire and I hear it crackling as the logs burn in the stove. I watch the sparks flicker, bright in the dark of the chimney and try to guess what could be in pocket number two.