Would that it had been so for everyone, but hundreds of people, mainly in this south-east corner of the country, spent Christmas Day in evacuation centres after their homes were flooded by rivers bursting their banks and something like 50,000 homes were without electricity, many of which will have to remain without until the flood waters recede. We have also been thinking of our friends Chris and Mrs Chris. It was they who hosted the Evening of Christmas last Saturday - despite the fact that Chris's elder daughter had been rushed into hospital suspected of having had a stroke. It transpired eventually that she had suffered three strokes. The last we heard she was paralysed down one side and had lost the power of speech. All very worrying, especially as she is only about 45 and has two young children.
Otherwise, everything here is getting back to normal - or partly so. When I was working, these days between Christmas and New Year were always busy and I used to get so frustrated because trains ran to a Saturday timetable and I travelled daily to London, a two-hour journey from home to office at the best of times. neither did it help that so many people took time off between the holidays, just when I needed to get in touch with them! Our financial year-end was 31st December and I insisted that the auditors complete their work before the end of February. That meant they arrived each year on 2nd January, by which time I had to have the accounts - including the full profit and loss account and balance sheet - ready for audit. At least I don't have that bother now.
I have been blethering quite a bit about various traditions - don't worry! I've no more for you - yet! - and it occurred to me in a moment of deep, philosophical thought that traditions are not just amusing throwbacks, they perform an important role. The observance of traditions - whether in spectating or participating in them - is a form of glue which helps bind together communities. End of philosophy.
Yesterday, at least, was a bright, sunny day. Even though the ground is waterlogged, it was pleasant walking across 39 Acres and around the Roman Camp despite a fairly stiff (and