My allergies drive me insane. I may have harped on this theme before, so if you’ve heard it, skip to the laughter track. I am individually allergic to dairy products, hairy animals, sesame seeds, etc. Though I’m finally growing out of these, extended exposure does bring out the relevant eczema/asthma/anaphylactic shock.

So it’s very annoying to me that the place in my life I’m happiest, at home in the snowy Peak District, is also the place where my animals allergy is the worst, due to my genuinely belov’d cat, Pansy. (we didn’t name her that; after the incident where she punched her claw through the side of a corrugated plastic box, we’d have called her Psychat, or possibly Macavity.) After a couple of days in the house (which my parents clean and clean so that I don’t have any problems, bless them), I’m normally left dopey, wheezy, and perpetually hungry and horny; like the seven dwarves in one mongrel package (though I think Horny was only in this reworking …) Thankfully the only lasting result is a tendency to get repeated nosebleeds (from, I assume, my nose running so constantly.)

Anyway, apart from the strange sleep patterns and nosebleeds, home was fantastic. The snow stuck around for three days and we went walking all over the peaks; Dragon’s Back, The Manifold Valley, Dovedale and all the other fantastically named places. It also gave me a sorely needed opportunity to catch up with my family, specifically my little sister (who’s shot up in size) and who I gave some great Shaun Tan books to (specifically, The Red Tree, The Rabbits and The Lost Thing) suggested by the singular John Walker and my dad, who I’ve failed to talk to for weeks.

Anyway, just to round that off; to Our Friends in the North; sorry I missed you this year, I promise I’ll ring tomorrow (when the sky falls on our heads …), and I hope everything’s going okay way up there.

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