Thank you for being a friend...for not minding too much when I rant and carry on about some perceived injustice...for understanding when I moan and groan about achy legs and the wind snatching my breath away...
For allowing me to wallow on occasions when I write about times long past...the people I've known and who made my early years more bearable...when I meet up with Potty Penny and her trolley full of slithery liver and it makes you smile...then that gives me pleasure.
Thank you for leaving a comment when I write about long dead ancestors beheaded at best or hung ,drawn and quartered at worst...it might well put you off your supper but you still take time out to reply...
And you understand how much the children next door but one mean to us...you've never been unkind about our estrangement from our own Grandchildren but have welcomed in earnest Jack and funny little Alex...the rather strange Jamie and Caitlin the self-confessed nerd who cooks and cleans and reads and mops up puppy pee while keeping an eye on her mince pies...
I've received some lovely e-cards for my birthday...and a beautiful Orchid from John...you've been there when I was ill and there when I am full of beans and writing a load of cobblers because my mind has gone quite blank...
We've taken on awful problems and giggled at the thought of using Depends and we've shared recipes and tried to get Max to cook and stood united when you know who inveigled her way into and onto our pages...
I think we came to an understanding about how to spend the Christmas and we accept each other for who and what we are...
We may never meet...it's doubtful you'll all sit around my table in the sitting room of our little cottage and share a bottle or several of wine and eat fresh soda bread...I don't suppose you'll get to stroke Jack's velvety nose and give an over-ripe pear to old Neddy while Nancy from next door gazes hopefully into the apple tree in case the cat is still there...
You'll not bawl at Eilis to be the feck quiet for heaven's sakes or throw a spit and mud covered ball down the street for Millie to chase...
I doubt I'll take you down the street to meet with Tom...or to brave Wendy's little cottage with a shrieking parrot and small boys running riot...maybe you'll never get to see the old stone fort...but if, when I write, you can imagine those places and the people, then it makes it worth the while.
To all of you...my good and kindly friends...thank you. Enjoy your Christmas however you choose...may the gods grant you peace and happiness...