Christmas is just around the corner… and today marks the winter solstice.   Thank goodness, because for the last few weeks it seems to have done very little but rain, and the days have been dark.   I’m eagerly awaiting the return of the light – even if it’s only psychological!

In the brief spells of clear weather we’ve walked down to the beach and watched the low sun gleaming on the sea, and looked for pretty shells and pebbles among the banks of seaweed that have been washed ashore in the gales.   A few weeks ago we made a night-time trip to the stones at Ballymeanoch, in an attempt to catch the full moon rising behind them.   Cloud came over fairly quickly, but not before we managed to capture some lovely stars above the stones.   It was absolutely freezing.   I touched one of them, and understood the full meaning of ‘stone cold’.   As we passed Dunchraigaig, my torch shone directly into the empty burial chamber and from somewhere close at hand a barn owl creaked and hissed like a watchful guardian.

While Colin has been busy in his studio, I’ve been working on a couple of new projects, and will bring you more updates in the New Year.   I write regular blog posts for the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, and December’s offering is my first foray into fiction – a children’s short story called ‘The Snow Globe‘.

Meanwhile Purdey and Clyde make themselves cosy by the log fire, and or sit in the windows and stare out at the rain.   Cats can make you feel responsible for the awfulness of the weather with just one look.   Purdey will trot speedily around to the back of the house, to the cover of the shed, but Clyde is ready for a brisk walk down the road in most weather, day or night, as long as he’s accompanied by a (debatably) responsible adult holding a torch.

We would all like to wish you peace, joy and wellbeing, whatever and wherever you are celebrating.    Thank you so much for your lovely comments and ‘likes’ over the last year, both here and on social media.   It means a great deal – more than I can say.   Being able to share the wonder of natural places and ancient landscapes with people who love them too is a great blessing.

Enjoy the festivities, and I look forward to catching up with you again in the New Year!