I have the usual mixed feelings at this time of year. Never sure whether I feel glad to get the house back to order, or sad that all the gaiety has gone. Certainly I feel the urge to get on with new things in the new year and I can’t do that till I have put away all vestiges of the celebrations and eaten up all the tempting leftovers.
But as I assemble this glorious array on the table, I think about the almost primitive yearning for colour in the dark winter months, how the eye seeks out the red berries on holly, for instance.
For over 12 years we celebrated Christmas in southern Spain, and the brilliance of the sun, the sea, the white villages, the multicoloured bougainvillea and tall red poinsettia trees fulfilled my need for brightness. The decorations there looked out of place in the sunshine. Now in England, this compulsion for colour has to be satisfied by artificial means so, like everyone else, I festively festoon everywhere as an antidote to gloom …till spring brightens us up again.