Gentle readers, I know I have been quiet of late. This month I purchased a new home in London and brought all my worldly goods together there for the first time in 20 years. I have sold the home in Cheshire to which 'Mrs Paine' and I had planned to retire one day. As Scotland's poet put it;
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promised joy.
This week, I also said a fond farewell to Vittoria and acquired a new motorised companion, Speranza. In the past three days, I have alternated between joy at achieving a 40 year old ambition to own a Ferrari and sadness that Mrs P will never join me in the journeys we will make. It has been strange to make all these big changes without her input and to wonder, inevitably, what she would have made of them. While these changes have all been going on, I have taken steps towards returning to work. I have been appointed as an expert witness in an arbitration, which will keep me occupied for the first month of the New Year. 2011 was my family's annus horribilis. That my car has an Italian girl's name speaks to her heritage. That her name means "hope" is no coincidence.
The civil liberties issues I pontificate about here are as close to my heart as ever. I hope to write more next year, as the Misses P and I settle down into our new lives. Today however we three are flying to Dubai to spend Christmas in the sun. This was Mrs P's favourite time of year and she was brilliant at making it special for us. We couldn't hope to organise it to her standards, so we are going to let our hotel take the strain.
I wish you and your families all the very best for Christmas. May we all have an excellent New Year.