Happy Christmas Eve to you all. I don't know if I will bother with any comments on the political/economic scene. I am recovering from having a bad tooth extracted yesterday. It was rather impromptu. I knew that tooth would have to come out but was hoping to wait until after the holidays. However, the dentist had a cancellation when I called yesterday for my new patient evaluation and then manned to squeeze in the extraction as well. It all went very well--much better than I remembered dental visits from years ago. And the rest of the news was better than expected. I will need some expensive work but my teeth are sound except for the one that isn't there any more. A couple of caps, a couple of fillings, and a good cleaning.
Enjoy your Christmas with the family, Nicola. I had never heard of echium before and had to look it up. Interesting; will merit further research. I dried several cuttings of lemon balm and use it in brewing my tea. I know what you mean about the smell when you brush up against the plants. Our handy man remarked on our lemon verbena and spearmint. I couldn't move on the patio without releasing the scent of mint, lemon verbena or balm, thyme, and rosemary. I found an interesting book on sacred and healing beers made from almost every imaginable herb, fruit, or other edible plants. One of the recipes makes a lemon balm ale. I may yield to the temptation to try a small batch next summer.
I also love my gardens even when dormant, Kay. There is something bleak and sterile about the patios without any kind of growing thing on them. I look out at the containers and I don't really see the dormancy--I see next season and what I might plant. Anticipation is wonderful.
Follow this link to wonderfully warm and inspiring story from the Daily Mail in the UK. The world could use a lot more of this kind of eccentricity.
Maha posted links to a couple of absolutely adorable animal videos. Watch as the kittens and ferrets explore Christmas.