The cover proclaims the genius, Charles Dickens. Chapman & Hall published this wonder with illustrations from John Leech. This brown covered first edition is a gift beyond words. Inside the cover Robert has written ‘Published on 19 December 1843 and sold out by Christmas Eve. Treasure it forever my friend; as this book holds a lesson for us all.’
A Christmas Carol lays out the stages of life: past, present and yet to come. Robert explains Dickens held public performances until his death this year. How I would have loved to heard his spoken word.
On Hogmanay, Emelia and I gather the children. Arabella, Lewis and Adair have been transfixed by the story. It has opened my eyes to the gross inequalities of the world with the last pages holding the most important lesson. You can change; it is never too late.
The great timekeeper in the hall strikes 12 times. I head out carrying a collection of gifts: salt, coal, shortbread, whisky and a black bun. I look up at the front palisade of my neighbour’s house, which is embellished with greek calligraphy. My first footing of 1871.
Alexander welcomes me in. He has stamped his authority in the world with buildings, including this magnificent terrace.
We celebrate the new year with a resolution made. Time to change my world.