It was like the guest who arrives a bit early for your party, when you haven’t quite got all the crisp bowls out yet. No-one else is there, just this early arriver saying, ‘I hope you don’t mind I’m a bit early?’. ‘Not at all,’ you say, ‘come on in, make yourself at home’, really wishing they’d just go away and come back a bit later.

So it was this morning when a strange light appeared in our living room, and peering through the window I thought it looked like the upper rim of the sun on the horizon. It’s a common illusion in winter – the sun’s reflection from beneath the horizon making it look as if it’s really there when it isn’t. And yet – it did look very real.

I consulted the Oracle. It was true; today the sun reappeared in Kiruna after it’s midwinter absence. Three or four days earlier, it seems, than we were expecting it.

Every year I’m a bit unsure of the timing. It can depend on the weather, or where you are looking from. Upstairs in our house we might see it a day earlier than downstairs. But not three days earlier. We’re not ready! We need a few more quiet and dark days, a bit longer to feel the old year retreating, the new returning.

It’s something to do with the inaccuracies of our calendars apparently, the need for leap years. More than that I can’t tell you. Whatever the reason I had no choice but to say, come on in, make yourself at home. The sun settled briefly on our fireplace for fifteen minutes then slipped quietly away again.