Sorry about the month-long hiatus. I haven’t been in stasis, but my life has been somewhat hectic of late.

First, there was the annual stress of Christmas. The combination of shopping for presents to a deadline and the claustrophobia of Christmas really brings out my inner crotchety old man!

In fact, I managed to do my Christmas shopping fairly well and efficiently this year, although that’s mostly thanks to the fact that I have at last worked out where to buy things in Brussels. It’s not easy, you see. Belgium has a lot of small, specialised shops, and it can be tricky to know where to find a given item.

Second, on the 28th December, my grandmother—my last remaining grandparent—died. Given that she was 84 and her condition had been deteriorating for some time, it wasn’t entirely out of the blue. In fact, I had been expecting it. None of that, of course, makes it any happier.

I went to England for three days at the end of last week for the funeral. It was nice to see some of my family again—a rare occurrence given the geographical separation—and, despite the sober event that gathered us, it was enjoyable, in a way. In my case, I was very glad that I had managed to attend this funeral, having missed my two great uncles’ (the last two of my grandmother’s siblings) funerals in the past few years: one, I couldn’t attend due to final exams at university; the other, I was on the other side of the world for.

Oh, and I’m moving house next month. I don’t know how many times that is; I lost count after my first twenty moves.