The Christmas tree is up. Mysterious and tall, like an ancient Druidic bough, the evergreen totem stands twinkling in the window once again.
Despite being fake the annual rite of trimming our winter tree connects us to our rustic ancestors who did the same in the dark forests centuries, perhaps millennia, ago.
It all puts me in mind for some eerie folklore. So, I shall watch a TV play I have rented on DVD tonight.
It's an icon of folk horror called Robin Redbreast and I have wanted to watch it for years. Made in 1970 this Play for Today has at long last become available on LoveFilm the films-by-post service I'm in.
So whilst Missus Moonbase is having a festive supper and talking Grandma with her pal in the kitchen diner I shall retire to the telly room, replete with its flickering Christmas tree, to enjoy a seasonal ale and Robin Redbreast.
Collecting books is like any collectable. You have to decide which ones to collect.
I collect vintage horror novels.
For some reason they go well with Christmas.
One of my few first editions is this hardback Hell House by American Richard Matheson [1926-2013] penned in 1971. It was later filmed in 1973 as The Legend of Hell House starring Roddy McDowell and a band of scientists pitted against the evil of the Belasco House.
Although easily done it shouldn't be confused with The Haunting of Hill House written by fellow American Shirley Jackson [1916 - 1965]. This is how the 1959 first edition looked and I'd love it in my bookcase.
It was later filmed in 1963 as the atmospheric black and white shocker The Haunting, one of the most frightening films of all time.
I do have another of Shirley Jackson's books on my shelf, Wir Haben Immer Im Schloss Gelebt. This is the 1991 German paperback version of We Have Always Lived in the Castle , which I found in a German charity shop.
The 1962 first edition, which I'd love too, had a particularly scratchy cover.
The theme of the castle reminds me of another eerie tome I own, I'm The King of the Castle by English author Susan Hill, written eight years later.
My paperback has what I assume to be a detail from a painting by Van Gogh on the cover in an attempt to convey the the story's fields and crows so important to the bully at the heart of this dark tale.
The carrion crow on the book's 1970 first edition is, however, a much more powerful image in my opinion and again a collectable book I would like to have.
Susan Hill, born in Scarborough on the English Yorkshire coast in winter 1942, went on to greater fame with her neo-classic The Woman in Black from 1983.
A solicitor's gothic report reminiscent of Stoker's Dracula but written a century later, Hill tapped into the ghosts' motherlode with this tale of spectral wrath set on a lonely islet in Northern England probably not too far from where I live in Yorkshire.
It has since been performed to much clapping in London's West End and produced no less than three times for the big screen: a fabulous music-free favourite of mine from 1989 and two less atmospheric loud modern efforts starring Harry Potter.
My own copy is a well thumbed nineties paperback lined with sand from several summer holidays but the copy to drool over is this gorgeous first edition, another one noticeably lacking from my bookcase!
Have you any books you love or would love to have readers?