Wind the clock

Christmas is upon us, so I’m switching off for a few days. Given our current predicament and the widespread anguish this pandemic continues to cause, it seems only right to leave you with some words of wisdom from an old favourite. I hope they bring you some comfort.


As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.

Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society—things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man's curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.

Hang onto your hat. Hang onto your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.

E. B. White | Letter to Mr. Nadeau, 30 March 1973


Before I go: thank you. The reception to this newsletter has been wonderful and unexpected, and what I thought would be a once-per-week newsletter has become something slightly more frequent. In many ways it feels like I’ve returned to September of 2009 when this whole journey began. A rebirth of sorts. Your replies are welcomed—even the bad ones—and I will respond to them all eventually. If you haven’t already done so, subscribe so I can send these letters straight to your inbox, and please consider supporting it for a few pounds a month so I can dedicate even more time to this increasingly enjoyable project. Paying subscribers will gain access to a monthly ‘members-only’ email and my everlasting love. Hit the first button below for options, and whichever you pick, thanks for signing up.

Merry Christmas x

Beautiful books

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