I know I’m very late in getting round to this, but the wishes are the same no matter how late. I hope that 2013 is good to all my friends and if I could write with my fingers crossed then I would. I have always been one who thinks that things will get better, but sometimes it’s hard to believe they will. I’m not complaining for myself, but it pains me to see how sick and downcast my country, Ireland has become. I’ve always been a bit of a Christmasholic, someone who plans for it the whole year. I love the glamour and glitz, but this year, for the first time ever, it was a complete let down. The season was somehow muted, as though no one had the heart to truly take part. I had the same amount of family and friends to Christmas dinner, 14 of them, so it was very busy. Still, everyone seemed lethargic, not only in my home, but everywhere. I’ve spoken to a number of people since and they all had the same opinion. It feels as though people have lost hope and when that happens there’s no way back. I’ve stopped reading the newspapers, as everyday the sad panorama of human suffering is played out in black in white. A couple in their 60s frozen to death in Dublin and more and more people are losing their homes. Up to 25 homes a week are having their gas cut and this is just as the really hard weather hits. Some people are actually asking the electricity companies to cut their supply as the stress of owning big bills is killing them. This is modern day Ireland, living by candlelight while ice forms on the inside of the window glass. When I was researching my first novel, The Paupers‘ Graveyard, I thought things like the famine were history. This is not so as people can no longer afford to feed their families and the charity organisations are overwork and under financed to cope with the thousands asking for help. The statistics I have given you may seem small, but you must realise how tiny our country is compared to many. There are no jobs to be had. My daughter sent out 512 applications for jobs and received two replies, both rejections, so I know what I’m talking about. All we can do is pray for a miracle and that’s what I wish for you all as the months tumble one in to the other. Good health and happiness, I suppose if we have these two basic things then we can achieve anything. Like Pandora’s Box I leave you with the thing I wish you the most, Hope. Never stop believing.