'HAPPY New Year to all the readers of the Central Fife Times.

For most, Christmas and New Year is a time of celebration and relaxation. But there are others who don’t get the time off, who still have to put in a shift to keep the rest of us safe throughout the festive season.

So I would like to take the time to say thank you to those of you in, for example, the health service, our emergency services, those who keep our power supplies and public services working and so on. To each and every one of you who don’t get a holiday at Christmas, I want you to know that what you do is appreciated all year round, but particularly at this time of year.

There are also those for whom, sadly, Christmas is not a happy time, when anxiety or sadness or solitude can be at their very worst amidst such great public jollity. We should all take the time to take care of each other over the festive period.

Part of the joy of Christmas is visiting friends and family but, of course, travel, particularly at this time of year can bring its own challenges.

We all know how changeable the weather can be in a Scottish winter and while those responsible for keeping local roads and trunk routes clear will be primed and ready to do their best, sometimes the weather has other thoughts.

And, of course, whatever the weather, transport networks are always busy at this time of year – and there is always the prospect of an unscheduled drone! - so remember to plan your route in advance, leave plenty of time for your journey and follow any travel advice that is issued.

As we reach the end of the old year, it is traditional to reflect on the year that has gone and look forward to the one that lies ahead.

And what a year 2018 turned out to be. Dominated, politically, by one topic and one topic alone. The appallingly inept handling by the UK Government of their determination to take the UK out of the European Union, against both the will of the Scottish people and the interests of the Scottish economy.

Do be honest, the old political crystal ball is pretty fogged up right now. Who know where things are headed, frankly.

And with that cheery thought I offer my very best wishes to each and every one of you as we head into 2019'.