Forget the heralding of Christmas with the purchase of industrial quantities of Brussel Sprouts. Better to trumpet the festivities with the Jerusalem artichoke. It achieves the same result but for less.

Fighting my way through Christmas madness, I find myself shuffling against the tide of shoppers who are straining under the weight of last minute purchases. I’m on a mission to snaffle the last artichokes before anyone else gets there.

The crowds don’t exactly look as if they are bristling with seasonal joy and there is a lot of high pitched screaming and the odd tantrum going on.  A few people have thought to add their Yorkshire terriers into the mix, supported in the chaos by guess what? The extendable dog lead of course.

I am just beginning to wonder at the wisdom of artichokes when a brass band strikes up. They are playing “Joy to the World.” This is the final straw and people start pulling down their hats and covering their ears. Just when I was beginning to think that terriers and their invisible extendable leads were an ask to far, there is relief. The terriers start howling, providing a pretty good indicator of exactly where they are hiding behind the expanse of shopping bags.

This kind of busyness is impossible to make sense of to me. I start humming along with the band in an effort to offer myself a moment of uplift and relief from visual catastrophe. I never thought that a brass band could save the day, but me and the Yorkshire terriers are as one.

When it comes to Christmas shopping I’m for the safe option although I have just taken a chance and bought the flatmate an adult colouring book for Christmas. I wish others would take this approach. That’s the safe option not the chance.

Despite all early warnings, to the contrary, last year I still got a selection of candles. It has made no impact on anyone. I’ve had two more candles so far this year to my certain knowledge. I haven’t even put the presents under the tree yet. I’ve tried the nice way to say this so here comes the sting – again. A candle has all the charms of an ocular migraine to anyone with cataracts.  The next person who hands over a candle shaped gift will not be thanked. I shan’t even manage a smile. I’m going to offer up a flash of contempt and say, “How lovely, a present. I’ll just go and open that over the bin.”

Last year I got a book from someone I’ve known for fifty-five years. I like to think this was not a casual unkindness but a bit of karma coming back to my door. She was probably recycling unwanted presents and got desperate. I’ve done it myself, with candles.

The person who bought me a coffee machine, even though they know I don’t drink coffee, may want to consider their position as my relative or they may find themselves in receipt of a selection of delightfully scented candles, designed to induce a calming affect – when lit.

On the subject of magnification, I’ve had a major clear out this year. There is not a single magnifier left in the house, except the one that comes as an app.  Don’t attempt to fill the void.

The Grand has sprouted his first tooth this week and all he wants for Christmas is the other one. He’s going to start solids on Christmas day, with a sprout and a bit of porridge. Safe to say that the weather out there may be frightful, but in here it’s just delightful if a little on the windy side.