My friend from Brazil tells me that much as he loves our traditional seasonal music, he feels it's always sad too. I think he has a point. Even in more recent Christmas songs there's a pang, isn't there? Note how it's always Cold Outside, the weather outside is frightful, and yet...if you really love me so... well then... the boys of the NYPD choir will still sing Galway Bay.
Rising early means beating the unbearable heat that makes her journey on foot with a heavy load of maize on her head even more arduous. It means getting to the border crossing before custom officials - who frequently ask her for a bribe or worse - and securing a place at the market ahead of her competitors.
It's Sunday morning and I'm standing in a park gazing at a sea of red and white. Hundreds, nay thousands, are dashing around all dressed as Santa - and I'm one of them. Have I gone mad? You may think that from my straggly white beard and ill-fitting jacket.
As Lord Deben, Chairman of the UK Committee on Climate Change, warned this week, the need to decarbonise is greater than ever.
Today's overhaul of the guidelines for sexual offences, which the NSPCC has been calling for, is an important step forward in both recognising the harm done to victims and in justice being done.
The fact that this age group is facing almost unparalleled employment challenges must be linked to their literacy skills; one in five young people are unemployed, whilst the numbers unemployed for two years or more are at a 20 year high.
Cities and regions were represented at the COP as never before.This is extremely important, given that more than half the global population lives in urban areas, which produce around 80% of energy-related emissions.
At the moment my son aged 5 has a Statement of Educational Needs and attends a Specialist ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) School which is out of county. Therefore the proposed changes and how they could affect my son in his future educational life are of importance to me.
Some dogs are genuinely scared of humans and will run from you when they see you. You have to try to build up trust with the dog. Leaving some treats in an area where it frequents is one way of doing this. Keep some dog treats in your pocket and put one on the ground, before walking away again...
Performing at an elite level of sport requires a tough mental and emotional discipline and that is not a given thing, it has to be learned. Its just as big a part of your training as the hours in the pool, the gym or the track. How you approach the mental and emotional side of sport will teach you more about yourself than any formal education, and probably be the biggest lesson you will learn... at elite level, you have to learn how to lose and your emotional response to losing is what toughens you up and teaches you who you are.
On about day 10 the mayor appeared and took charge of distributing relief goods. This involved men with automatic rifles, light and heavy machine guns, grenade launchers etc., protecting the relief boxes until the Mayor had shifted "the good stuff" into his newly commandeered storage buildings.
I sent Shaker Aamer the sermon Reverend Nicholas Mercer delivered in October which denounces the UK's involvement in the tortuous and horrifying tactics used in the 'war on terror' and its continued denial of justice to those still subjected to those same practices. Shaker, clearly touched, wrote back almost immediately.
Temperatures can fall to as low as minus six. In previous winters families have been known to burn their possessions just to stay warm. For little children, struggling against the cold and the wet, the brutality of winter could prove deadly.
Imagine that tonight you didn't have a home to go to and were forced to sleep rough. It's a pretty terrible proposition. But imagine having to battle the cold winter weather at the same time. Sadly, this is the reality for all too many people in this country.
Here's a cracking social enterprise model - big name retailers need to get rid of old stock at minimal cost - so they give it to a "social" supermarket who only sells to those living locally, on welfare and at significant discount.
The amount of money now washing around Asia and the seemingly unquenchable demand there for ivory, particularly in countries such as Vietnam and China, has caused the price charged on the black market to soar. Indeed in many places ivory is now worth more per ounce than gold. The result has been an almost unprecedented slaughter on the savannahs. Some 100 elephants are being killed per day in Africa, and at present rates of poaching the surviving population in the wild risks being decimated within a decade. Chad had 15,000 elephants. Now it is 400.