I’d like to assure Judith Kent in Barnet (Letters, 24 December) that redwings have not entirely fled the country. Half a dozen have been stripping the holly tree outside my bathroom window for the past week, so I was faced with a dilemma: was I more pleased to see them, or concerned that there wouldn’t be enough berry-laden boughs to deck the halls? We reached a compromise: I took the small lower branches and left the redwings to enjoy the rest.
Colne Engaine, Essex
• Large numbers of redwings spent the week before Christmas stripping the berries from every holly bush in this area. Perhaps they are working their way across London from south to north and will be in Barnet soon, Covid travel restrictions permitting.
• We also still use the Guardian angel (Letters, 23 December). My stepdaughter replaced the angel’s head with my angelic features, and I still inflict it on the family all these years later. I’m considering making it a condition of my will that she continues the tradition she started.
• The government has listed the 72 high streets that have been awarded or provisionally awarded help to fund their recovery (Report, 26 December). The city that’s had more lockdowns and restrictions than any other is strangely absent. Why?
• It is interesting to see how well vital research is funded. Your picture essay (21 December) shows a computer at the forefront of vaccine development in Oxford clearly still running Windows 7.
• Hooray! I had all the ingredients to make Ottolenghi’s Boxing Day leftover veg samosas (Feast, 26 December). Great stuff.