Every four years since I was a teenager I have, without fail, re-read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The completeness and consistency of Tolkien's vision of Middle Earth has never ceased to amaze me and I will never tire of it.
From the creation myths of The Silmarillion to the ending of the Third Age in The Return of the King, from the homely familiarity of Hobbiton to the huge variety of peoples, societies and languages portrayed, Tolkien's work is a masterpiece and towering achievement of English Literature.
I still remember when I heard that The Lord of the Rings was to be filmed. I recall the fear that what would result would be a travesty, completely unworthy of the book. I can remember as stills were released in the months prior to first film the gradual realisation that these were as I envisaged them, that what was being committed to film was (for the most part) faithful to my own interpretation of the books. And I remember finishing work early and going to the Odeon in South Clerk Street, Edinburgh on the day "Fellowship" was released - full of excitement and expectation and not being disappointed.
And now? Now we have The Hobbit to look forward to. This time there is no fear - after all, in the hands of Peter Jackson, how could there be? But there is excitement and there is expectation. You can be sure you will hear again from me on this matter but for now, though, here are some pictures from the set - Mr Jackson himself in Bilbo's Hobbit hole.
You can follow production more closely through the official Facebook page, theonering.net and also through the Hobbit in 5 weekly webcast on YouTube.