HOW many days is it now until Christmas . . .?
There's a sign set up in our local pub that would tell you.
It was put there and is regularly updated by a mischievous barmaid with a 'wicked' sense of fun. She knows most patrons inwardly groan, or are outraged, at being hustled so early towards end-of-year festivities.
But it makes me smile. I prefer to see it as enjoying Christmas every day or, at least, its best parts.
For who has the better time? Is it the cheerful person listening and talking with others? Or is it the one preoccupied by personal concerns; perhaps embittered by prejudices, or the hurts of old injustices?
In our historic local here at Great Marton, on the Lancashire coast, the banter runs freely. It isn't merely the cask ales or chilled wines that cheer in its old rooms with traditional fires.
What better than to be brought out of oneself, perhaps by sharing a joke? Even one which, like that Christmas sign, may gently mocks us.
It is one of life's greatest ironies that we are never happier than when we forget ourselves. That's true whether amongst family, friends or strangers.
Fellowship surrounds us. It awaits in the nearby church - or synagogue and mosque. We'll find it, too, at work or in the high street; in entertainment, or the arts - wherever we encounter others' thoughts and feelings.
Even when on our own we can be thankful for blessings: seeing the best about us and in others; rejoicing that we are not, after all, alone.
Hopefully, our friends around the world will also be uplifted by this non-profitmaking website.
Its pages (see near top of right column) are each updated frequently but randomly.
Our Books include a diverse collection that can be scanned over and 'glimpsed' into by using click-on internet links. They can be read here in free samples and bought, either in Kindle or paperback. Your payment helps offset the costs of this website and publishing.
The Story/Chapter page carries many extracts from the above books, as well as complete short stories.
Our Memoir page is intended to amuse and transport you around the world and back in time.
Finally, the Poem page carries abridged favourites and contributions to divert, delight and amuse - rather, in fact, like Christmas stocking fillers.
What's more, we still have much of summer to enjoy!