It is snowing here, as I am sure it is snowing everywhere else in England. Right now it is not settling, but if the temperature drops tonight then it probably will.
I loved waking up as a kid and seeing the brilliant white light of the snow reflected on the ceiling. It meant no school. 1963 was the most blissful Winter I can remember. We were effectively cut off for about two weeks, with regular power cuts meaning no school, candles and real fires. No internet was, of course, standard.
Are you the sort of person who rushes out into the snow to spend hours walking around in it, or smugly being one of a handful of Land Rover drivers on the road, or are you someone who delights in the valid excuse for not getting into your car, not getting to work and not getting cold and wet?
These days I tend to veer toward the latter, with a little of the former whilst the snow is still fresh on the ground.
Queen Victoria and the crow aren't my only near neighbours. This bloke spends all day and all night at the window, staring at me. His eyes follow you around the room. Our room.
For years, we have been entirely unaware of the presence of next-door neighbours, then an American couple with a small dog moved in.
It took me a few months to understand that the shouting, cajoling, encouraging words that she virtually screams every morning were not some form of weird sex with her silent partner. I tolerated it for so long out of embarrassment - hers, not mine.
She shouts in a room right next to my bedroom, so it is an indication of the volume that I can hear her at all through the thick walls, let alone actually make out words. She would often start at around 4.30 am and keep going until mid-morning. When I heard her shout, "Good girl!" over and over again, I began to suspect she was a lesbian, such was the effect of sleep deprivation.
During last Summer it suddenly dawned on me that she was shouting at the dog. That was when I resorted to hammering on the wall - with a hammer. The shouting immediately stopped.
She now begins tormenting the dog at about 8.30 am, when all hard-working, decent people should be up, washed and off to work. I am not a hardworking, decent person.
Christ knows what she is doing to that dog with her four hour incessant screaming sessions, but I would think that it - by now - must be the most neurotic animal in town.
Queen Victoria and the Christmas crow. There's a children's story in there.
When Step Daughter was a child and living in this compact but adorable city apartment, she - having been staring at the Queen since she was about three - looked again at the orb in Her Imperial Majesty's left hand and suddenly asked her mother, "Who's that lady bringing in the tea?"
Shawn has just confirmed what I originally thought to be a silly bit of fake news - that Creationist 'Christians' not only believe that the Apocalypse is coming, they welcome it and view Trump as an agent sent by God to speed up the progress of the Four Horsemen. Within these terms, he is doing a brilliant job.
What have the rest of us done to be subjected to being forced to play out a part in the self-fulfilling prophesy of a bunch of low-intelligence psychopaths who believe that God created all this in six days and was so exhausted by the effort that he had to take the seventh off?
No matter what your views are about the Israel/Palestine situation, surely no sane person who wants a peaceful life for their family can possibly understand why Trump has derailed the Peace Talks by announcing that he is moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in recognition of Israel's ambition to make it their capital?
Years of work and so much blood spilt, and Trump casually disregards it with a Tweet. Christians, Moslems and Jews in Jerusalem are now extremely worried. They are even confused and dismayed in Washington. I bet that the Embassy staff in Tel Aviv are a little worried too.
Meeting someone in Grand Bend, Ontario is easy. You say either 'turn left at the traffic light', or 'turn right at the traffic light.'
I left one of the two bars one cold, dark, January night, slightly drunk on Molson beer, and decided to take a walk down to the beach of one tiny stretch of Lake Huron.
It was about minus 20 and the ice had formed high ridges up against the shore which stretched as far as the eye could see in moonlight.
I walked about a quarter of a mile out into what I had previously thought to be the sea, so vast was the lake. I scrambled up the eight-foot ice dunes, then back down the other side until I made my way back to the wooden piers and jetties which thronged with holiday makers in the warm Summers.
Back in the bar, people asked where I had been.
I told them, and they looked at me and each other with a strange but old and familiar look in their faces.
One man said, "You're lucky. Most people who do what you did fall through a thin spot and we don't find them until Spring. We don't even bother to look for them until Spring."