There is a slight chance there will be snow in London, but no hope of that in Malta. Instead, the temperature has dropped to 15 degrees, but it feels like zero because stone houses are not made for winter. People with paraffin heaters make financial computations in their head to ration usage. The fat cats with fat cars cruise by Cafe Oasis and overfeed their designer children. Gift wrapping is a national obession.
Max has bought Jacob a plastic digger, three Percy the Park-keeper books, and Pinocchio and Lion King DVDs. Max has bought Liz a blender and Jamie Oliver's latest. Max has bought himself a string on DVDs which he will probably never watch, but which look great, still sealed in Play.com packaging.
Tonight, Liz will leave a glass of wine and a mince pie, to solicit Santa's visit, to fill socks, kiss sleeping angels and bring good luck to a household that needs it like millions of others. And for Max's friend Maurizio, living the darkest of Christmases... may he find a way out of the abyss, and realise that things come in cycles, and there there is only one way to go.