of winter and make-believe

When Lucy stumbles into the magical land of Narnia, she finds it in a state of perpetual, bitter cold – a curse has made it always winter but never Christmas. How I envied her! My tropical childhood Christmases were always spent dreaming of a real winter.

Around the beginning of December, my mum would arm us with coloured paper, scissors and glue. We would make a royal mess of the dining table, and then we would decorate the living room with our handiwork: stately paper windows looking out on snowy landscapes, to help us pretend. One year, we snipped and glued together a darling little hearth. Every night that month we sat by those brown paper logs and orange crepe flames with our bits of make-do fruitcake, and I was magically transported to wintertime.

When we moved into the Bunker last year I was tickled to find a real live non-paper hearth in our garden.

And today, fed up with real winter and missing the tropics, I brought it inside. Like the old days.