All is fairly quiet in the playroom today. Belinda is busy recycling festive wrapping paper. She carefully presses each piece and then passes it to Posy who hangs it neatly on the laundry rack. Several tiny dolls are having great fun playing 'hide and seek' behind the sheets of coloured paper.
The weather outside is wet and windy but the Christmas tree lights are filling the rooms with a warm glow. The tree in the hall stands at the foot of the stairs.
The sitting room tree as ever is draped with many old and much loved decorations. The tiny Santa below is perched on a white swan. When gently pulled the spring allows the swan to bounce up and down and its feathery wings move to create the illusion of a magical flying Santa. My mum bought it from a large London store in the 1950s and I don't think I can ever remember a Christmas without it. Each January it is lovingly packed away until the following December.
On the old oak table in a corner of the dining room I always arrange the same items. A bible, a brass chamber stick and a pewter plate in which I place a few Georgian and Victorian coins. These coins were in circulation when Jane Austen and Charles Dickens were alive and I like to think of them rattling around in peoples' pockets and hope that maybe some made their way onto church collection plates and were then used to help the poor and needy.
How lucky those of us are with warm comfortable homes. I thought I'd leave you with this picture that for me typifies Christmas. It depicts a quiet English village nestling below the ancient church. Lamps are lit, fires glow and the smoke from chimneys rises high into the frosty air. The picture is an illustration from my 'Wind in the Willows' book which I'll tell you about in the new year.
From my home here in England I send warm greetings and may next year bring health and happiness to you all.