Up to page 840 with correcting the OCR of Ibn Abi Usaibia.
I also got my Christmas cards done and posted today, complete with financial enclosures for teenage nephews. The latter is important — an uncle is not expected to send goodies, but to relieve the financial strain.
It took me three goes before I was happy with my circular letter. It’s a hard thing to write, as you mustn’t just regurgitate whatever you did with last year.
Obviously it’s probably best to omit things like the period under observation in Broadmoor, that you were sacked recently for being useless at your job, or your recent exciting discovery that you like Barry Manilow’s music. People don’t need to know these things. “Restraining order” can be such an unpleasant phrase. So humour them.
You know it will be read at Christmas, so it ought to be positive. Do you want to be thought of as the chap whose letter is left until last?
You know it may be read by people facing difficulties themselves, so you probably don’t want to remind them of things they may also face, and which may worry them — like whether any of us will ever be able to afford to retire.
You know that some of those reading it may be suffering financially — which means you don’t moan about (e.g.) how difficult you find it to park your new Ferrari in the garage. Nor, I should add, do you advise them helpfully that getting the butler to do it is the answer. Why provoke resentment among the ever-shrinking number of people who will send you a card at Christmas?
No, be bright, be positive, and try to leave people with a smile!