Oh, you’re still here. I’d have thought everyone had gone by now. Were you lost? Oh, trying to find the right exit? Well, yes. I can see that being a problem. Don’t want to leave the Forum and find yourself materialising in a total stranger’s bedroom or study, do you? That would be awkward, to say the least.

You’d like a little help? Of course! I am one of the moderators, so I can find out for you. I’ll need to find a computer though. My laptop is in the library, just this way.

Would you care to join me for a drink before you go? Or a nibble? I’ve got some mince pies left over from the Forum party earlier. Yes, it was quite a shindig wasn’t it? Everyone dancing to virtual tunes. The wonders of the internet, eh?

Now then, make yourself comfortable, I’ll pour. Please do, stoke it up a bit. That’s it, toasty warm. I’ll put another log on in a while if it gets too cold. Brandy be okay for you? I like a little drop of orange in mine, I’ve had quite a few already, better take it steady. Straight up? There you go.

Ah, isn’t that lovely? What’s that? Oh, yes the tree is really something. Don’t get too close though. I think it’s a distant relative of a whomping willow. You should’ve seen Paul’s black eye when we put it up. Took quite some taming before it stopped throwing baubles everywhere. Nearly strangled Rachel with a length of tinsel. And when Amy tried to put the star on top, well. I didn’t know you could do that with a five inch plastic star. Brought tears to my eyes just removing it. She’s still quite traumatised, poor girl.

Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, you need to find your way out, don’t you? Let me see. Just give the laptop a moment to connect to the Forum controls. Aha, yeah gottit. Right, let’s see… membership number? Uh-huh… there you are, gate 48. Right next to mine, I’m 47. No! Gate 47, I’m only twenty-nine. Cheeky bugger! Yeah, big three-oh next year. Don’t remind me.

You off then? Another mince pie, for the trip home? No? Never mind, they’ll get eaten. Yes, I’ve already fed Reginald. He’s quite happily chewing on a newbie I found roaming aimlessly without contributing the other day. Bet you’re glad you contribute, aren’t you? You do contribute, don’t you? Oh good!

Now then, do wrap up warm. It started with a little flurry a few hours ago, not settling tonight though. Not yet, I don’t think. Might be a proper white Christmas tomorrow, that’ll be nice. Yeah, you be careful. Snow can really play havoc with the entrances and exits. I came in during that heavy snow the other day, and I could’ve sworn that for a few moments as I materialised, I was inside that wall over there. I know! Right icy on the entry too, I was skidding all over the place. Nothing more disconcerting than entering cyberspace at high speed and losing it on ice. I got chilblains on my… yes well *ahem*.

Right, you off then? Go on, I’ve got the controls. Stand back, opening the portal now… yep, still icy. Watch that patch just there, that’s it! Have a good Christmas! G’night!

And watch out for that icy patch!

No, to your left! Left I said! Oooh! That’s gonna be sore in the morning.

Anyone else left in the Forum? No? Right, time for bed I think. Now, listen you. Yes, you, you ‘orrible tree. No beating up Santa, all right? Don’t you shake your tinsel at me like that. Be nice!

Right, final checklist. Reginald fed, yep. Main lights off, yep. Christmas lights on, yup. Forum side rooms powered down, yup. Sorted. Coat, gloves. Right. Time for an exit.

Blimey! I’m sorry, how could I forget all you lot out there? That’s what I came in to the Forum to do, wasn’t it? To wish you all a Merry Christmas!

So, here it is:

Merry Christmas, to all of our loyal followers and supporters and your families, with much love, from everyone at the Literary Den!​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


Oh, and do mind that tree. I think it’s getting excited already.