Today was the day when I had planned to get a lot of my Christmas cards written but the ‘best laid plans of mice and men go oft awry‘ (I don’t give the full Gallic rendition of this in the interests of clarity) What made things go slightly awry was the fact that I received an email some time in the last 24 years which was from the bank which is used by our Residents Association to organise our communal affairs. I had already filed a long electronic form which I had previously submitted to the ‘safeguarding’ unit of the bank but I received an intimation that further details would be required to process our safeguarding progress. It transpired that they required the date of birth of the Treasurer of our association, plus the exact date upon which he moved into his property. Evidently, I don’t have these details to hand so I had to send him an urgent email and then I get these details, I will have yet another go. I felt that this had to take priority over my own domestic concerns and hence I was delayed by about an hour. But eventually, Meg and I set off for the park only for me to realise half way through our walk that I forgotten to bring with me the pre-paid token that I take with me every day to pay for the newspaper. So we needed to have ‘Plan B’ which was to go to the park and then later go back in the car to collect the newspapers and some supplies from Waitrose of which we had run short. In the park, we often get into conversations with dog walkers and today was no exception. Today, though, we got into conversation with a friendly young lady who turned out to be a Jehovah’s Witness – so we had quite an interesting and friendly conversations on matters liturgical and theological (with neither of us particularly wanting to convert the other to their own religious persuasion) When all of this got done, I was then in a position after we had lunch to start the Christmas card ‘run’ for this year. I have got the address address in a ‘Word’ document which is in the ’10 to a page’ format and I knew that I had sufficient labels to make a start on the address list but not to complete the whole of the job. This is because I run off a separate set of labels to inform recipients how Meg’s health is progressing. Actually, the same labels that I used for lst year were sufficiently general to be used this year without amendment. Half way through the job and just in the nick of time, an extra set of labels that I had ordered from Amazon came through the door and they worked without problems. Now we come to the job of writing the Christmas cards themselves. Into each card, goes three ‘sticky’ labels, the first being the one that detail’s Meg’s health, the second being our own name and address and the third being an additional label that I use containing additional contact details such as this blog, my website, my mobile number all of which require an additional label as they would not fit onto one standard address label. Now we come to the interesting question of which cards to send to which people. I usually buy cards that come into three categories and I use them as appropriate. The first set of cards are the religious ones (typically a ‘Madonna and Child’) that we send to people who would definitely appreciate a card with a religious theme. The second category consists of people who may well be offended by religious cards so these are the people who receive the more generic Christmas cards (robins, reindeers, snowy scenes and Santas being typical themes) Then there are those amongst my friends who are definitely of an internationalist perspective and I always try to send a card with a multicultural and diverse ethnic flavour. Finally, there are some who would appreciate the ‘dove of peace’ type of illustration (but this category tends to overlap with the internationalist one) Then I have to make a judgement as to which type of card to send to which recipient) I tend to write particular messages to several of our friends who we meet periodically for a meal, expressing the hope that we can get together in the Spring and as soon as the pandemic allows. Finally, of course, each card has one of our own address labels affixed to the rear of the envelope so that that any misdelivered cards can get sent back to us) Finally, and hopefully tomorrow, I can make a trip to the Post Office to get stamps on them and get them posted. We tend to leave cards for local friends and neighbours to the end of the run, giving priority to the ones that have to get posted, knowing that the local ones can be popped through letter boxes in a day or so.