|A marvellously stark but monumental Christmas tree by Giorgio Sadotti, for Tate Britain|
I think I'm finished! The gifts have been carefully selected, purchased and wrapped, my house in London cleaned to sparkling, and my bags neatly packed. I'll be spending the festive season on the south coast in Brighton, with sharp sea breezes and the remnants of a foot of snow as my constant companions (oh, plus some lovely friends and family of course).
Whether I like it or not, Christmas always makes me reflect on the happenings, achievements and mishaps of the past year. I'm glad to say that, although it's been one of my more eventful years, it's also been filled with more happiness and contentment than many before it. It's not been a fair weather year, but then again I've made some strangers into wonderful new friends, worked in inspiring places and been surprised a number of times by the warmth and generosity of random Londoners. And I'd rather have an interesting but challenging year than a dull one.
So a very merry Christmas to one and all - wishing you a relaxing, happy holiday and a bright new year ahead. I think Dorothy Parker, the poet heroine of my agonised teenage years, sums up my feelings about 2010 rather well, and far more eloquently than I ever could:
This level reach of blue is not my sea;
here are sweet waters, pretty in the sun,
whose quiet ripples meet obediently
a marked and measured line, one after one.
This is no sea of mine. that humbly laves
untroubled sands, spread glittering and warm.
I have a need of wilder, crueler waves;
they sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.