You know you are thinking about Christmas early when even Harrods have not got around to putting up their window displays, but the carol services have already begun to make their way into the diary, and December is beginning to look crowded even from mid-June. I like to keep my elbows out for most of the year and have as much clear time off as I can, but the Advent run is slightly different, a busy period, but one which helps keep things ticking over in the quieter period of the new year.

This year that whole sequence will be even more important, for come Christmas Day(ish) I shall down tools pretty much comprehensively, apart from pencil and manuscript, switch off the phones as much as possible, and disappear for a few months, tuck myself away and get on with writing. The details of this pushing of my reset button are still to fall completely into line, but the grand scheme of things looks clear.

All of that makes certain opportunities that have come my way in recent weeks a little difficult to evaluate. Any opportunity is not to be sniffed at, especially when they come to find you rather than the other way around, but I need to be wary of saying yes for the sake of saying yes, or of succumbing to that freelance panic that work might suddenly stop coming in.

I have managed well enough for the part thirty odd years, so there would appear to be no good reason to get jittery now, apart from that nagging feeling that younger, brighter things are coming up on the rails, even if each grey hair I have now is a lesson learned, another experience to be filed away. I need to have a good, long think about what exactly it is that I want to achieve next year, what precisely I am aiming to do.

When asked I say that my intent is to test drive life as a full-time composer, and that much is true, and the remnants of my father’s estate have given me just a tiny bit of a buffer to enable me to do that. It is what I might fit in around it that is proving to be tricky, the ideal amount of peripheral noise probably being nothing, and, more importantly, what I want to come back to.