London — There are winters that surpass even the most idyllic summer. The pubs glow with firelight and bonhomie against the snowscape outside. The thrum of shoppers vies with the chirp of sledding children as the ambient noise in a season that is both hedonistic and reflective. Lost in goodwill, you all but pay a passing orphan to take the biggest goose in London town to Bob Cratchit, posthaste.

This is not going to be one of those winters. As I write, lots of countries are re-entering a lockdown of sorts, minus the novelty and gallows humour that leavened the first one. The freedom of remote workers to take a midafternoon constitutional will mean a lot less in the cold and dark. Outdoor dining will be grim for people who have made the eccentric decision to not live in Los Angeles. Families that convene once a year will remain cruelly apart...

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