IN the bleak midwinter there's still much warmth to be kindled. Here at Great Marton on the Fylde, Lancashire's Irish Sea coast, we're snug by the fireplace and, come early evening, curtains are drawn against the dark with a fire flickering in the hearth.
We love a cosy-cottage atmosphere in winter and have festive leftovers at hand to wine and dine us.
At my corner 'local', coal fires crackle in the sociable rooms which are full, too, of what the Irish call craic.
This is a great time to meet with old friends and discuss the year; to relax and give thanks, perhaps in the neighbouring church.
This gathering and giving brings warmth into our lives over the chilliest months of our changing seasons and years. Let's embrace it all, be thankful - and enjoy ourselves!
You will find other heartening stories on our Books page which, with Kindle editions through Amazon and paperbacks sponsored by the British Arts Council, help pay for this non-profit-making, literary website started by former journalists tired of all the bad news.
On our Story/Chapter page (see near top of right column), there are excerpts from our latest publication, Bright Lights & Pig Rustling, a humorous memoir about life on the Fylde. One celebrates the late, popular country man and writer Jack Benson.
By contrast, on our Memoir page there is a fictional twist with a Christmas episode set in the Lakes from a much earlier novel Life of Bliss.
Finally, we have sentiments from two different verses that, although from separate ages, both capture this season's magic - on our Poetry page.
Wherever you are in the world, whatever your beliefs and circumstances, we wish you peace and joy in the weeks ahead.