Presents are lovely. Happy surprises wrapped in disguises, you never know what you're going to get, or whether it'll be useful, or exactly what you wanted, or whether you're going to love it still in a year's time. The uncertainty of presents is what makes them special, and echoes the continual reality of what we have to live with - a series of events we don't know are going to happen, the relevance of which is often apparent long after the unwrapping has been done.
I want to give thanks for some of my presents over the past year. Greatest of all was the presence of three starring cast members of Stargate SG1. Jonas Quinn (Corin Nemec), the SG1 team member with a perpetual smile, was Quantumology's very first person present. Spirited Apophis (Peter Williams), Prince of the System Lords, perpetual thorn in the side of the good guys, came to offer me his support in marking the 100th. And finally, in the eleventh hour, a Master of perpetual wisdom arrived and blew me away with a mock staff-blast, as Bra'Tac (Tony Amendola) landed on my timeline to pledge an allegiance. Their collective presence is a source of untold joy - that they chose to be part of Quantumology's adventure is the most amazing gift.
Some random presents have been creatures - a golden pheasant was given to me by a well-known animal sanctuary. Quetzal now happily spends his days with two bantam hens, Nirrti and Shar'e, bought to keep him company. A new dog was needed as companion to Rowan - Raffi turned out to be half Staffie although advertised as a Ridgeback/Labrador cross - doesn't matter that she's small, she's the sweetest dog in the world. And a tiny hamster sitting alone in a pet shop's 'Adoption Centre' has proved to be one of the very best spur-of-the-moment decisions I've ever made - Apophis turned out to be the most adorable little thing.
Finally today, on Christmas Day, I want to thank some friends who have made this year memorable. Angela and Debbie, my friends in the village, Nix, who posts on Facebook's Quantumology page, and Dave, my mentor of hawks. Matador, who will publish Quantumology next year. And new Twitter friendships which have blossomed through the ether - 815, Spacettf, Philtill, and the irrepressible Darth Vader. Many others too numerous to count as I've got to venture back to the kitchen now .... love and wishes to all of you for a very merry season and a wonderful year approaching on Advanced time waves.
The very thought of having to listen to dolphins might be more than a moment's credulity is worth, if you're a politician or a 'civil servant'. Turning a blind eye to the barbarities in this world is not going to secure a better future. Focusing all efforts on trade markets and what stockbrokers describe as 'futures' isn't going to help, either. Try stroking the pictures.
This is a plea for personification of a very important point of honour.
If you're a 'decision maker' or 'civil servant' who serves invisible masters, spare a thought for the people who'd love to trust you, but don't. Spare a thought for the reasons why they don't trust you. And when you've spared those couple of thoughts, you'll probably find that you've run out of time to think about reason and will more than likely think no more about it.
I'm Kathy, you've met me here - just love this stuff so much.