December is a great month to spend time in the Keswick area. The landscape has changed so dramatically since the summer and there are regular dustings of snow for the adventurous to test their winter walking skills to and for the rest of us to simply admire from below, as in this shot of Skiddaw, taken from our fell wall the other week. Keswick’s Victoran Christmas Fayre was a delight with one-off stalls from all sorts of local businesses and community groups selling wonderful Christmassy treats (including the boys’ school who we are proud to say won ‘best dressed stall’ this year!). Local shops take particular pride in their window displays and the Christmas lights create a magical atmosphere. Theatre by the Lake surpassed even themselves with their production of Beauty and the Beast: hailed one of the best Christmas-time shows, our boys certainly loved it. As newcomers to the Vale, we were enchanted by the decades-old tradition here of welcoming one’s neighbours into the home for a very personal carol singing, followed by mince pies and mulled wine – and a firm invitation to join the procession to the next dwelling along the Vale!