It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Trees are spy-able through windows, shop workers have that vaguely pained look on their faces as carol music loops once again, cakes are being baked and Christmas tree festivals are in full swing.
I love a Christmas tree festival, where local groups, businesses and individuals each decorate a tree with a theme.
There was one such festival in Alverstoke last weekend, where around 80 trees twinkled and dazzled.
They featured boats and ropes and quilted pockets and angels made of coffee filters, crime scene tape and a terrific variety of joy.
But my absolute favourite was one from a nursing home. It had pictures of all the residents in their youth, in silver, jewelled round frames, as if their lives were ornaments.
And pinned to the tree were their memories, typed out.
In those, weddings featured frequently, and children and grandchildren. It was a tree of memory and life, and that really appealed to me.
While all the others were beautiful too, and obviously well thought-through, it was, for me, the one with photographs that brought something extra.
Another of my other favourite festive moments is going to the theatre to see Christmas shows, so I started my season with Santa Claus The Musical at the New Theatre Royal.
This was slightly embarrassing as I was supposed to be attending with my daughters, but they were too late returning from London so I sat alone.
I’ve been to the theatre by myself before, but this time I felt oddly bereft as the stalls were packed with families of happy young things while I moped around in the dark.
But luckily for me the show isn’t just for the very young. The sets were spectacular – a mixture of colour and vitality which more than made up for me being a Billy-no-mates.
And even though it was a musical, I knew most of the words as the show has reimagined favourite classics.
It really is a visual treat worth sharing with your families, especially if you like reindeer or penguins.
READING IS NOW A JOY, BUT I COULD GET CHEAPER GLASSES
After losing my glasses a year or so ago and squinting at the small print for months, seeking advice from children telling me spices were a mere three years out of date, I finally plucked up the courage to go and get my eyes tested.
It really does take courage as I hate getting things wrong.
Imagine my pain at reading lines of text and admitting it was indecipherable.
And then there was the pain of choosing new frames with my large nose.
And the pain of the cost. Some £200 later and I can see small things again.
Reading is now a joy. But I have since learned that you can order glasses from China for a fraction of the price.
That’ll certainly ease the financial pain next time around.
I WONDER IF HE EVER GOT INVITED TO DINNER AT FRIENDS’ HOUSES
Writer A A Gill died last week.
For those who didn’t know his work, he was a journalist, primarily a restaurant critic for the Sunday Times.
He wrote scathingly and passionately about food and I dread to think what it must have felt like to be a restaurant owner coming to his attention.
I also wondered what it must have felt like to be him.
With such conviction in his reviews and pieces, did he ever get invited to dinner at friends’ houses after being so utterly, wonderfully rude?
I often had to resort to the dictionary when reading his pieces, except when he announced a few weeks ago that he had cancer. Everyone knows what that is and now he has gone, ending 2016 on yet another sour note.