Our neighbourhood, as Christmas draws near. I mean, would you look at those mismatched socks pegged at the window? My heart. Fir trees standing sentry outside every pub on the Uxbridge Road. Thoughtful gifts, chosen with such care and attention. Sweet friends. A superlative sandwich in the fanciest of joints, to wish a colleague well. Frost spread across the field, as though a fairy-child made mischief with a pot of glitter overnight. The traditions we have sown, taking root in their second year – an early Christmas dinner for just the two of us, truffles tucked into bookshelves and baskets for hungry hands to seek, Sunday morning swims rewarded with brunch at home. Scribbling Christmas cards, licking stamps, and waltzing to the Post Office to stand in line, admiring packages under the arms of those in front, stamped, glittered, stickered. Wandering the suburban charity shops on a Friday noon for foraged treasures (vintage suitcase, check!), a favourite pastime of mine. Mist clinging to the air, peeling away as the day marches on. Mama, home from the equator for Christmas. Hand-sewing gifts, brewing up sloe gin, and planning a truffle-making evening next week. Oh festive season, how lovely you are!