The winters are dark and cold in this part of the world, the daylight is in short supply during the days following Christmas, it is a bleak time for everyone, everyone that is apart from rugby fans.
For us it is the rebirth of the sporting year, and the start of the weekly countdown to the first weekend in February when the 6 Nations tournament begins.
The tournament starts in the depths of winter, and takes us through to the weak sunshine and gentle warmth of early spring, when the tournament concludes in the middle of March.
But the 6 nations is about far more than just rugby, it’s about making and renewing friendships, it’s about the history, it’s about the fans, the wonderful memories of 6 nations weekends past, and those wonderful ones yet to come.
Memories of matches and weekends shared with family, loved ones, and friends, some of whom are sadly no longer with us, come flooding back, and their spirits are with us this at time of year, as we prepare to enjoy a winter sporting festival like no other.
The 6 nations weekend has a heartbeat, a soul, it is a living entity, that has been enjoyed and handed down from generation to generation.
Uncles, fathers, grandparents cousins, have all taken pride in guiding their offspring on their first 6 nations weekend, and those youngsters who have taken over the baton, keep the traditions alive, and when the time comes, they will take their young on a similar rite of passage, and that is why the 5 Nations, as it was, and the 6 nations as it is now, is so unique.
Each wonderful host city has its own unique atmosphere, sight, sounds and smells.
Sadly this year it will all be very much different, and yet despite the lack of crowds and the dreadful situation we all find ourselves in, there is no doubt that the tournament has an important role to play.
The wonderful distraction of sport can be a great comfort in these difficult times.
As the 2022 tournament approaches, many of us, in the middle of a cold dark winters night will lie awake, and as the wind and rain beat against the window, we will feel a cosy warmth, as we remember with fondness, the matches, the weekends, the laughter, the tears, but most of all we will remember the people we have shared the matches with, and those friends we have met, because it is they that make the six nations tournament so very special, and we will hope and pray that next year those precious reunions will taste all the sweeter.