The Mail on Sunday - You - - Editor's Letter - Sue Peart

Christ­mas is nearly here, and once the fes­tiv­i­ties are over what will you be up to? For many of us, a few days off work means a wel­come op­por­tu­nity to jump in the car and go to stay a night or two in the sticks (or in town, if you live in the coun­try), catch­ing up with old friends. It sounds fine in the­ory, but – as writer and co­me­dian Maria McEr­lane ex­plains on page 29 – the whole thing can be fraught with dif­fi­culty. I re­mem­ber the time my (then) tod­dler daugh­ter ran amok with a felt-tip pen on a friend’s brand new cream sofa, and when, grop­ing for a light switch in the dark, I ac­ci­den­tally knocked a porce­lain dish off a bed­side ta­ble and it broke in two. Ev­ery­one has their dis­as­ter sto­ries – and hope­fully noth­ing is so bad that you won’t be able to look back on it in years to come and have a jolly good laugh. Fol­low Maria’s tips for a trou­ble-free trip (and, hope­fully, the of­fer of a re­peat visit). This time of year can be bit­ter­sweet, when, as fam­i­lies get to­gether, poignant mem­o­ries bub­ble to the sur­face and loved ones are missed more than ever. When Lu Spin­ney’s 29-year-old son Miles died af­ter a sport­ing ac­ci­dent, she faced the task of hav­ing to clear out his bed­room. On page 38 she de­scribes this ag­o­nis­ing process, and how Miles’s room has re­cently taken on a new life as a bed­room for vis­it­ing grand­chil­dren, giv­ing her great so­lace.

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