Well, that's it done and dusted. Next issue put to bed and I can take a Christmas break without worrying about it.

I won't be alone in having wondered at times this month whether and how I would make it through to the break. Working round the weather disruption has been as challenging as at any time I can recall, whether I've been trying to commute to Paisley (kept to a bare minimum) or simply cross the city in Edinburgh.

Yet even in the cold there have been unexpected rewards. Two days ago I travelled through to the west, on a freezing train (despite trying out the new Bathgate-Airdrie route, being the first service available), to find it even colder in Glasgow and Paisley than on the uphill side of Edinburgh, albeit with less snow. But I became aware, from about Coatbridge on, of the most incredibly frosted trees I have ever seen. And once near the office, with the sun up, the effect was absolutely stunning. Apparently it had been foggy the day before, so more moisture had settled, and with the temperature then dropping to -9 or so, it had formed crystallised thicky on every little twig. I hope you have had the chance to witness something similar.

And sometimes you can discover different, and perhaps better or more efficient, ways of working through having to overcome these difficulties, which will have longer term benefits. So unpleasant though they may be, the tough times can bring their own pleasures and benefits.

You could say something similar of the year just concluding. The legal profession as a whole will not want to repeat the experience, certainly as regards the debate over its own future - I fear the difficult economic times will be with us for a little while yet, though we can hope they won't get any worse. But nearly every firm has pulled through. Whether there will be longer term benefits remains to be seen, but solicitors should certainly have learned from the year's experiences.

Hopefully there were some bright spots for you too. I guess my pleasant surprise was the magazine editorial award for trying to keep a professional focus through the difficulties.

For those who believe in the Christmas message it is a time for giving thanks. Maybe others now beginning to enjoy their break will do likewise. Have a happy time, and as the comedian Dave Allen used to say, may your God go with you.