As the winter afternoon darkens, the Christmas street decorations light up the entire length of St Peter’s Street. This year the tree branches are wrapped in bright garlands of red gold, blue and green lights and it all looks so festive.

My Christmas shopping is almost done so I’m out with an old school friend and we’re spoiling ourselves with a few little extras. I love that feeling when all that’s left are a few bits and bobs like the odd box of crackers, there’s nothing like it and that’s when I really begin to feel the Christmas spirit.

I love bookshops, especially during the Christmas season and we linger in Waterstones. I buy The Guinness Book of World Records 2018, it’s absolutely packed with amazingly incredulous human feats; the sort of colourful classic hardback that all of the family, young and old, wouldn’t mind a flick through in that restful week after Christmas.

The booksellers have thoughtfully created a display table filled with the best-seller non-fiction books of 2016/7 and its buy one get one half price. I buy myself a book that came out last year that I never got to read, Wohlleben’s book on The Hidden Life of Trees; it explores why solitary trees have shorter life spans than large tree groups; it appeals to my geeky side and nobody would ever think of buying me it.

We go upstairs to the café for a couple of mega spicy hot chocolates; I bite into a festive mince pie and relax into the red sofa. My friend brings a couple of humorous seventies Ladybird books The New You and The Meeting over and they have us in hysterics.

I’m feeling excited that Christmas is just around the corner as I drive home listening to Christmas choral music mixed in with some Elvis and yes I admit, some Dolly Parton.

I start thinking about my food list for next week. That’s the weirdest shopping experience of the year, when the M&S food hall becomes an urban jungle and only the most determined mums will secure the last few jars of cranberry sauce and brandy butter into their trolleys!