We are now beginning our final approach to Christmas.
The weather has changed, and everything is greyness and rain. The rain is half frozen, and cuts like a knife, driven by hard wind.
It takes a long time to get dressed for our walk, and we walk round and round the graveyard, which seems bleakly appropriate.
There is little joy in the walking, though Ruby seems excited by the smells, which must trigger some scent-memories of her puppyhood, for it is here that I trained her and here she had run about, chasing butterflies while I slept in the sun on a convenient tombstone.
The vicar . . . whose surname was Clay, by the way . . . hence Elisabeth’s nickname for him was Feet Of . . . used to say I was practising for Eternity. Where it was I would be spending said Eternity he never said, and I never asked.
No sun today, though. Just cold rain, grey, ccold rain.
But there is pleasure in the homecoming. The sudden quietness when I shut the front door, the delight of slippers that have been warming on a radiator, the comfort of a cup of tea, and the deep prickling you feel in your face and hand and feet, as the blood comes back to cold the extremities of your body.
Every part of me feels alive.
So we begin our descent, as it were, to the end of the year.. Now you must go back to your seat, and fasten your seat belt, for there may be sudden turbulence as we drop through the clouds
It will be one of those landings after which all the passengers spontaneously burst into applause.
We will have made it through another year.