I must apologise to you, gentle reader, for Cascade, yesterday’s cruciverbalist’s overindulgence.  I am searching round for any extenuating circumstance that might mitigate this appalling lapse.  All I can say is that this is the season of overindulgence.  You consume an enormous turkey roast (in our case, pork – me and Nigella Lawson) and settle down to a Christmas crossword puzzle of gigantic proportions.  Have another mince pie, ho ho ho

I especially apologise that Cascade is not particularly legible.  I used a specific software package to construct the grid, but it and my blog site weren’t talking to one another.  I was minded to pack it in, but then I was on a mission, damn and blast, and determined to find a way.  Well I got there.  Bit of a Pyrrhic victory you might say.  I don’t seriously expect anybody to solve this acrostic.  Nonetheless I will post a solution – if I can figure out how – come the New Year.  Perhaps I will enlist the help of a teenager who will click the mouse on a few icons and say, “There you go.  It’s intuitive!”

Still, I’d rather occupy the twilit zone twixt Christmas and New Year doing a crossword than reading the 1243 pages of the EU-UK trade deal.  That’s longer than The Count of Monte Cristo!  And I imagine a lot less gripping.  I think I’ll stick with the executive summery. 

Christmas is traditionally a quiet day, and this year, with the travel restrictions, unusually so.  I walked up Callander Main St at dusk and it was entirely deserted.  I half expected to see tumbleweed wafting down the centre of the road.  Boxing Day brought Storm Bella.  Charlotte Bronte would have said, “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day”, but with the same stubbornness that made me post Cascade, I got happed up, went out, and got soaked to the skin.  Invigorating!  We had a light covering of snow on Sunday morning.  It was a beautiful winter’s day.      

So where are we?  Fourth Night, I think.  I always remember that come January 2nd, my mother would sigh with relief and say, “Thank goodness it’s over for another year.”  It’s traditionally a time of resolution, but who can now resolve to do anything, other than soldier on? 

An forward, tho I canna see,

I guess an fear!

But then while I was drying out and warming up after my encounter with Bella, I read, in one gulp, Viktor E. Frankl’s Yes to Life, In Spite of Everything (Penguin Random House, 2019).  Inspirational.  Dr Frankl makes a particularly powerful case against the idea of assisted suicide.  He speaks from a position of some authority.  He did after all survive Auschwitz.  Behind the wire, I don’t think I’d last a single day.  But who can tell?  We are taught to pray to be delivered from the trial.   

All you can do is that which you are supposed to carry on doing.  When I was a youngster I was full of resolutions, but now I only make one. Keep scribbling.                       

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