GRAHAM TURNER: Starting to plan for Christmas? Not Me.

A personal view
A personal view
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Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat . . . or so one of the garden centres near my village would have us believe.

At the weekend, as my wife and I made the most of the last of the summer sunshine, we had a leaflet poked through our letterbox which, as well as offering ‘Autumn Specials’, announced some ‘Dates for your Christmas Diary’.

As it happens – some people will find this surprising, others won’t – we don’t have a diary devoted to Christmas, so we’ll not be pencilling in the fact that cards, calendars, crackers and wrapping paper are on sale from this month or that artificial trees and Christmas lights will be available from September 28.

And, because we haven’t made a note of it, we’ll probably miss the opening of the ‘full Christmas display’ in the last week of October.

I’m sure we have the same discussion every year at home, but the run-up to Christmas seems to start earlier and earlier. September seems far too soon to be thinking about our yuletide festivities.

I’m just pleased that our children are older now and we don’t have to explain that, unfortunately, they’ll have to wait another three months or so for the big day.

But it’s Father Christmas I feel sorry for. Once upon a time he did just the one night’s work on December 24, but now it seems his shift starts on November 16!

-- This week, a survey apparently showed that 62 per cent of people lied about having read ‘classic’ books to appear more intelligent.

A ‘top 10’ was headed by George Orwell’s 1984, which I have read, but included a number of titles I wouldn’t even think of picking up, Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy among them.

Actually, my reading has sort of stalled at the moment. I’m mainly a fiction reader, but at the beginning of the summer I promised myself I’d read some non-fiction and chose a well-reviewed and supposedly accessible – but rather long – history book. Some two months on, I’ve barely dented the 600plus pages and I have to admit I’m struggling with all the names and dates. Perhaps I should just pop it on to the shelf and join the 62 per cent