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I’ve just spent two days battling with the frenetic, crazy, commercial side of Christmas. Yesterday I was working in the shop and after I’d finished Robert and I had arranged to meet up to do some late night Christmas shopping. Icy cold, sparkling lights and a band playing Christmas carols, Exeter felt festive and surprisingly inviting.

Putting off the evil shopping moment we decided to enjoy a drink and olives before embarking on the job. After a large glass of wine (beer for Robert) we emerged in a rosy, giggling glow and expertly managed some excellent decisive pertinent present buying – Stroppy Cow bath stuff, Lippy Cow lip balm, a kitsch teapot, Kat (cat) shoppers, mug and cushion and some wonderful Neil’s Yard goodies. We made our way to a delicatessen run by a friend of ours who insisted we sampled cheeses, fresh multi-coloured salad leaves and other delectable delicacies. Jolly, happy and enjoying ourselves we thought that we would abandon shopping, as we’d done so well, have supper and clean up on the present buying the next day. Convinced that our run of good luck would continue, everything would be done and dusted by the early afternoon so we could further enjoy ourselves by taking in a film.

Silly us.

The shock of spending fifteen hours in a teeming city, fraught with frantic, pre-Christmas mayhem, was beginning to take effect. My usual deep sleep was disturbed by gaudy, grotesque dreams and morning did not see me refreshed and eager to hit the shops. But off we went for round two. Robert had to clean up on emails and a few outstanding jobs before finishing for the Christmas break and joining me at lunch time. I in the meantime would have completed the shopping bit and be ready for fun and frivolity.

It was not to be.

The inspiration and excitement of the evening before was lost and gone. Energy-less and depleted I searched for a brainwave. Crowds thrumming, people with the same look of desperation and panic on their faces. No. I wanted to get home, back to the peace and sanity of the farm. Perhaps I just should have had that glass of wine Robert offered me at lunchtime!

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