Inevitably, this month has been spent largely in preparing for the forthcoming santaic rituals, and I've had very little time for blogging, or indeed for writing anything other than our Christmas cards. (I have managed another Surefish column, but that won't be up till January.)
I trust that "Sol Invictus" will partially remedy this lack, although a few of you will have seen it already last year. Those of you I send cards to should be receiving this year's story, "Polarity", shortly -- the rest of you will have to wait till December 2008.
Much of today has been spent rushing around manically, distributing presents and buying supplies for the forthcoming jollities. (I've never actually visited the Bristol Beer Factory before, but it turns out to be the only place one can actually buy kegs of their beer. Not that there's a brewery shop or anything -- I wandered in and found a chap in overalls, who was kind enough to stop putting mash into vats with a great big scoop and sell me some.)
In other, unrelated Christmas news... look, Kylie with a Dalek! Her dress may be minimal in scope, but at least she kept it on, unlike certain 1970s Doctor Who companions I could mention (and who'll appear fairly swiftly if you type "katy manning dalek" into Google Images).
Forgetting Christmas for the moment (as if such a thing were possible)... Elizabeth II may now be Britain's oldest monarch, but she won't be our longest-lived head of state for a few years yet. That honour goes to, of all people, Richard Cromwell, who succeeded his father as Lord Protector when he was 31, ruled for a disastrous eight months in 1658-59, then lived on in obscurity until the age of 85. If longevity in our rulers is a thing to be celebrated, than All Hail Tumbledown Dick.
Finally, the new word for worldbuilding an alternative history is whatification. Pass it on, and use it at all available opportunities.
And a Merry Christmas to all of you at home.