At year-end, we pay off our debts (in Japan, traditionally, as I recall), or at least acknowledge them (in other choice countries). As it appears to be year-end, I would like to thank the many people who’ve been kind to me, this last twelvemonth, and in particular those who have sent donations since Black Friday. I have received better than I deserved, once again, and haven’t thanked all of you individually. This is a shocking oversight on my part, and sadly typical of this Idler. Be assured, however, that I notice every cheque or electronic ping, mutter a blessing upon its sender, and contrive to deposit, if not always promptly.

Several recklessly kind individuals sent me hundreds of dollars. Many sent beautiful cards with donations, and I have arranged them in a fine Christmas display. They are a real encouragement to me; a reminder that I have sincere friends, and gentle readers scattered through this world. It is a world that certainly looks bleak, at the moment, but sometimes appearances may be deceiving.

May Our Lord smile upon our fitful labours, and draw us towards a bottomless faith; may Our Lady touch our hearts and open them; and may the angelic host reflect the Love that moves the stars. For everything old is new once again, as it was in the beginning, world without end.