People of different races and colours in Woolwich, scene of the cruel murder last Spring in broad daylight of a British soldier by two fanatics, are greeting one another with the words "all right, mate!". This follows the trial and conviction of the murderers. Any hope that the crime should create racial tension among local people is defeated. If you want to sum up the kindness, and fundamental goodness of English people you could find it in those simple words spoken by passing strangers, "all right, mate!" All right?
It must be 20 years since as a journalist I wrote anything about wine. And almost as long since I drank a glass of Rioja. I often visited the region in Northern Spain to savour its red and white wines, its roast lamb and its asparagus. I would never want to, but I am not allowed to forget it. For I am, as this morning's greeting testifies, still on the Rioja Wine Producers Christmas card list. So Merry Christmas Rioja and thank you for many memorable bottles.