Winter

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The trees that line our street are bare, their leaves rotting in brown, woodsy, rain-soaked piles in gutters and corners. We are spending more days inside. Baking bread, writing letters, painting, cuddling.

Pumpkin, pomegranates, cinnamon, crumpets. Mandarins, red wine, sausages, cloves.

Every morning I rise before the sun, readying the house for my still-slumbering family. I turn on heaters to take the chill off the rooms, flip the kettle on. I squeeze half a lemon into a glass of water and sip it, leaning on the bench as I contemplate the day to come and the jobs ahead. The kettle bubbles, steams, then clicks off, so I pour a cup of tea and take it into my little study to start writing. I turn on the computer, take a sip while I wait for everything to load.

The first sip of the first cup of tea of the morning is one of life's highest pleasures.

The dawn is beginning to grey the sky when the children are ready to get up. Scout looks out the window, pauses with a spoonful of Weetbix half way to her mouth. "Mummy! It is dark outside!" she says, eyes wide with wonder. And then, just to be sure, she cautions me: "But it is not our bed time. We did only just wake up."

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