Ghosts of Christmas Past

This evening I put up my little tree and switched on the fairy lights: I wrapped the presents and set them round about. And then I sat alone and thought about how Christmas will be this year. Generally, on Christmas Day we are all split up around in-laws and out-laws and this year will be no different. But always, on St Stephen’s Day (Boxing Day) everyone comes here for blue cheese and ham and oatcakes, and mince pies with Bailey’s or cream. They bring their presents and we have an orgy of present opening with the grandchildren handing them out. I don’t know how it will work this year but it will surely be different. I was a bit sad until I shook myself and poured a glass of good red wine. What have I to complain about? I have shelter, warmth, and food. My family are all healthy and secure.

What about the poor souls shivering on the Halfpenny Bridge (in Dublin) with their plastic cups held out for change – which no one has these days when shops prefer card payments. How do they feel, watching crowds passing up and down, laden with bags of food and drink and Christmas goodies? They look so cold and ill. Druggies, people say, dismissing them. I don’t care if they are drug addicts or alcoholics; I do not blame them or look down on them. Why should I? How could I? Addiction is a terrible scourge, and no one would choose to live like that; they just end up that way.

Our government has just awarded some of its politicians a raise; one of them said they were legally obliged to do so.