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For too many weeks Lighten Up Online has had to take second place to getting a house presentable enough to put on the market. Prospective buyers are not, we are told, likely to wax enthusiastic about blocked drains and mildew in the insufficiently dark depths of fitted cupboards: while the peeling paint which we have spent fifteen years convincing ourselves was a sign of carefree rural charm we now learn will be viewed by smart country-retreat-seekers as merely a reason for knocking a nought off the end of our asking price.

Putting these sorts of things right has taken time -- sadly most of which has been at the expense of those to whose submissions I have still not yet replied. My apologies, therefore, to several of you. But I did get my own back on behalf of those of you who have played second fiddle to prospective buyers when I managed to inveigle one such -- unimpressed by the house and tottering on her four-inch heels -- into the muddiest corner of the garden to observe the principle behind  the septic tank and to hear about the occasional visits of rats from the farm’s nearby grain store. Trapped in thick mud by her heels she had no chance of escape. It was worth standing in the rain for!

So, much against the odds, here is the March Issue of Lighten Up Online -- emulsioned in brightest white and mercifully free from the effects of both rats and septic (how truly juste that particular mot is) tank.

Among its contents you will find Jerome Betts off with the birds, Annie Fisher observing love-struck teachers, Leo Vincent becoming Shakespearean about fry-ups,  Peter Wyton with a poem which has escaped several potential pitfalls including an Arvon course, Catherine Chandler on a cheese, Sara Impey putting life into puppets (even the cast of Thunderbirds), Lynn Roberts with a surfeit of ukuleles, Joyce La Mers wishing she could attend her own wake …… and many others including appearances from newcomers Tony Inchley and Tracey Rosenberg.

And, while you are at it, take a look at the News Section and light a votive candle for your Editor on March 1st.