IN two months’ time it will be Christmas.

The festive time usually catches me out and I can be seen in Stroud, Swindon and Cirencester full of panic as present buying proves too great a challenge.

It will be different this year.

Firstly tickets must be obtained for two marvellous Gloucestershire occasions.

The first being Johnny Coppin’s Christmas show.

All the elements of a Cotswold Christmas are contained within it.

We usually go to the one in Stroud Subscription Rooms, parking in the Bisley Road car park.

From Whiteshill to Rodborough lights twinkle from surrounding hills and we head to the town centre full of excitement and anticipation.

We have yet to be disappointed.

Then there is the pantomime at the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham.

It is totally traditional and all the better for that.

We take our circle seats early and enjoy seeing clown Tweedy, accompanied by his pet iron engaging with the waiting audience.

What a delight it is to watch him and his fellow performers entertain us during the evening.

It is an evening of cheerful happiness and joy and we drive home with the spirit of Christmas firmly within us.

One change is being made in our celebrations this year.

Mrs Light’s calling means that she is busy on Christmas Day so this year we are going out for Christmas lunch.

One year she took services at midnight, 8am and 10am so perhaps I should have thought of this rather earlier.

A Christmas cake, mince pies and sausage rolls will be still produced so I will not starve.

Yet again I will attempt to keep up to speed regarding Christmas presents but will undoubtedly face defeat by those twin handicaps of indecision and procrastination but actually I rather like the last minute rush, hurtling round our streets and coming home laden, even though there is wrapping to be done.

What is certain is that after tickets for the two special evenings are booked Christmas will go on the back burner and not feature again until about December 15.

Then the rush will start.

I hope Penny has her sermons written by then as I cannot decorate the tree on my own.

The question may be asked “do we really need a tree”.

I know what answer I will receive.

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Side Bar

One of the joys of writing this column is the interaction with readers. This may occur by email, postings on the website or verbally as I move around the county. The record number of postings was over forty, following my thoughts about Brexit, referendums and the best way forward. So many different solutions were put forward. This of course is the root of the problem. There is no clear way ahead of us.

Following my article on Cotswold pubs and their landlords who are no longer with us an email arrived from Brittany where Richard and Liz Goodfellow, formerly of the Daneway Inn at Sapperton are now in happy retirement.

A warm tribute to the Drillmans Arms at Stratton was made by Michael Beresford and an alternative list of the Cotswolds finest pubs arrived. I am enjoying checking the all out.

My grammar and one or two errors of fact have been properly noted and my attention drawn to them. I am delighted. This shows that people are still concerned about high standards and such perceptive observations put me firmly on my mettle.

Perhaps my severest critics are the Monday evening customers at the Twelve Bells. One in particular buzzes like a wasp, always ready to sting you. “You are always writing about the finest Grammar School in the Cotswolds or the village of Sheepscombe” are his main criticisms.

There is of course an easy way of dealing with his complaints and it is working. Quite simply he is asked to look at the evidence. To his credit he has done so, visited Sheepscombe and now sees my point.

One of the joys of retirement is the time and opportunity to indulge in cheerful banter with ones fellow men and no comment about this column has been of a sour nature. No I am wrong, there was one, but worry not, my shoulders are broad and I am well aware that observations of any nature go with the territory.

There is nothing better than a cheerful argument. They do so much to defuse prejudice, sometimes inform and generally make the world a better place. Keep the comments coming?