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letter boxThis year, BBC’s Today programme declared war on the “round robin” letters that people (often, though not exclusively, proud parents) send out with their Christmas cards.

I love round robins – I like to hear what’s been happening in the lives of people I knew twenty years ago or the children I used to babysit. I like being able to break out of the moment, take the long view and look back over the lives that I’ve known and times that we’ve lived through.

[At this point, in a well-timed piece of synchronicity, a newsy email from somebody I first knew in the 1960s and last saw in the 1970s popped into my ‘In’ box. How weird is that?]

The Trial of the Knave of Hearts.

“Powerful people behaving badly”

In the public sphere, it’s been a good year for news junkies and anyone reflecting back on the year will be spoilt for choice.

On the face of it the great themes have been protest (peaceful and violent), the continuing financial crisis and powerful people behaving badly. These have been commented on extensively in the plethora of reviews that occupy the news media at the end of December, so I’ve decided to reflect on a couple of the themes that have caught my eye (and one that got under my skin) during the year and which, I think, represent a shift in the way that the world works.

At this point, I was going to make nice list, but realised that my material wouldn’t fit neatly into the categories that I’d sketched out for them any more than all the events fit neatly into an arbitrary twelve month period. So, suggested by events of 2012, but drawing on the past and speculating on the future …

Take three girls

–       Local heroine

–       Martha’s tale

–       Malala’s tale

Images : “The Trial of the Knave of Hearts” from Lewis Carrol (1916). Alice in Wonderland. New York: Sam’ Gabriel Sons & Company from Project Gutenberg