It seems, at times recently, as if The Ranter has been overwhelmed with bad news. Increased workload and incessant pressure at work following the departure of my colleague Claire (it's not the same without you, dear!); my dear old mother not enjoying the best of health; my own health not the Mae West either; daughter Michaela also being swamped at work and finding this time of the year difficult emotionally; my good friend Marion going through similar emotions; tonnes of snow and sub-zero temperatures making getting to and from work difficult and lengthy. And - Christmas is nine days away. Have I mentioned my dislike of this time of the year?
However, it's not all bad news.
A week tomorrow I'll finish work for the Christmas break and not return to the pressure cooker that is the office until 5 January. Michaela no longer has to appear in court next Tuesday (as a witness in an assault case, not for driving at 150mph on the Edinburgh by-pass in case you wondered); grandson Jack did a star turn at his school's nativity play; Hearts are playing great football, have won six games in a row and are now just three points behind second placed Celtic; and a football website has declared the Hearts Match Day programme the best in Scotland with someone called Mike Smith the best features writer (that did my ego a power of good when I read this on Twitter last night!)
Above all though, I am proud to know so many good, kind-hearted and generous people in my life. Through this blog I have got to know some wonderful people such as Peggy, Lilly, A Daft Scots Lass, Groanin' Jock, Kenfitlike and the always wonderful Adullamite. They have all enhanced my life. May their God bless them all.
Edinburgh, always a fantastic, vibrant city, is awash with colour and excitement at Christmas. Princes Street really is spectacular - in my humble opinion there's no better place in the world to be at this time of the year.
Okay, that's way too much optimism. The weather forecast for Edinburgh for the weekend is heavy snow and freezing temperatures. I have to complete the January payroll at the office before I finish for Christmas. My back is killing me. And the bottle of brandy in the kitchen is damn near empty.
Ho ho ho....