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Secret Santa and other glimmers of hope

You’ll be relieved to know that I feel better today. I took small actions – emailed my MP about setting carbon budgets for local councils, and then I sent an email to the Minister for Climate Change, Ed Miliband, to say that his efforts at Copenhagen were appreciated, which I hope will warm his heart, and I also emailed the handyman about getting our windows draught-excluded (the landlord won’t stump up for double glazing so they’re currently stuffed with newspaper).

I was partly cheered up by C, who pointed out that international negotiations are always difficult, and this one was guaranteed to be particularly impossible. I suppose I also think that at least there was genuine debate; it wasn’t like all the countries agreed on paper and then went off intending to do nothing. Instead, they disagreed on paper and then went off intending to do nothing. No, I’m joking. It didn’t work, but it’s not over.

And, you know, it’s soon Christmas. I called into the lovely Barnes Bookshop, where I used to work, and bought many books that all look fantastic, including:
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, which two people have described as the best book they’ve read all year
Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro, one of my favourite writers ever – Never Let Me Go is a book that made me cry
The Believers by Zoe Heller – I think she’s great
and Ox Tales: Water by various authors including David Parks, Hari Kunzru and Esther Freud – a cute package of short stories in aid of Oxfam.
Plus: a couple of surprises (one for my neice and one for my dad).

You will have realised that these are almost all for me. I’ve already bought presents for my nieces and nephews, and thankfully for the adults, we do Kris Kindle, so I only have to get one present which I will do on Monday – it necessitates a trip to Horrids which I couldn’t face today.

If you have a large family (or even medium like mine – two parents, two brothers, two sisters-in-law, two nieces and three nephews) I highly recommend Secret Santa. The only drawback is that the system of allocating the givers/recipients requires a certain degree of co-ordinated action, which used to be difficult enough with me in London and the Waffles in Belgium, never mind that, as my sister-in-law points out, organising my family is like herding mice at a crossroads. However, we’ve managed it this year. Proof that co-ordinated action, even among international groups with disparate interests, is possible.

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