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What with one thing and another, I spent the last two months of this year feeling so sorry for myself that my annual Christmas charity appeal was kicked into a corner of the room along with self-respect, dental hygiene and my resolution to stay in gear all the way to the lights, rather than coasting up in neutral.

I am far too late, now, to appeal for any charity who provides supplies for families in critical circumstances but I AM in time to point you towards the Public Law Project.

This is a legal charity in London who work on behalf of illegal migrants who are here with their families but no right to work or access to welfare. But, primarily, we’re all thinking about their kids, here – let’s not beat around the bush.

With all due respect to any and all charities working with families at this time of year, when you are really serious in deep fucking shit, in an unfamiliar country with no visa, what you really need more than anything is a lawyer.

I find the entirely unemotive nature of the website and the bullish suggestion to donate a minimum of £50 highly reassuring.

Donate here.

In other Christmas news – I have genuinely stuck to my self-promises made in previous Christmasses not to get my kids too many presents this year. In previous years the mountain of gifts has been pretty grotesque and also unnecessary – they really are happy with just one thing and some stocking fillers. I cannot deny that sitting here in my kitchen right now the temptation to scram into town and buy them a shitload more stuff to go under the tree is pretty pressing, but I am resisting it. I know you are proud of me.

More: I also want to you know that I am suffering terribly at the moment from a prolonged attack of heartburn. It happens to me every now and again – for three or four days every 4-5 months or so I have appalling and excruciating heartburn, unconnected to any eating or drinking issue and quite uncontrollable with any kind of ranitidine or Gaviscon-esque tincture. I know it’s cancer, so don’t bother breaking it to me gently in the comments box. I’m sure it will go away by itself.

Also – I think I may well be now mostly vegetarian. I know – what a terrible cliche! It’s not for any worthy reason, I just don’t feel much excitement about meat any more in the way I do about, say, roasted aubergine with curried yoghurt, chickpeas or a really good kale salad. I’m not saying I don’t eat meat, I’m just saying I live mostly without it these days and barely notice. The last three weeks of Christmas parties has mostly been about drinking far, far too much and eating a lot of meat, (and I’m surprised I’ve got crippling heartburn!), and the whole thing has only stiffened my unconscious physical response to animal protein.

What else: Merry Christmas, Spikers. Oh, oh, oh, you don’t know what you mean to me. My lovely readers, my kin, my spiritual children. More than that: my seraphim, the wind in my sails, the wind beneath my wings. Never change! (I cannot guarantee that I won’t.)

See you in the New Year!

Love,

Esther x