The above image I came across one Christmas several years ago in a Sunday newspaper. Its dipiction of terraced houses on a winter's night, their windows bathed in bright orange light, brought me straight back to my childhood in our avenue in Ringsend. The photo had such an effect on me that I cut it out and framed it. It's been on my dressing table ever since.
There's something about the combination of the coldness of the snow and the warmth coming through the window panes that triggers the memory of me walking home as a teenager from school and work on dark winter evenings.
The last ten minutes of my journey would take me past a long row of terraced cottages some with their curtains not yet drawn. It was the glow from the windows that would attract my gaze just as a moth is compelled to seek the light. Walking past I would look in, the room appearing so cosy in contrast to the misery of the cruel weather conditions outside. I would comfort myself with the thought that I would soon be entering my own warm abode, our tele too would be broadcasting the evening news and I would soon be sitting down to a warm dinner of Irish stew.
The final leg of my journey would take me up our avenue where maybe a hall door might be open. Again, the illuminated hall shone like a beacon through the darkness of the street. Winter for me has some memorable contrasting themes - warmth and coldness, light and darkness.