The summer sun suddenly acquired an autumnal feel
We were sitting in an idyllic seafront spot, on the promenade of a delightful little Normandy seaside resort.
The sun, a rare visitor in our lives this past year, was beating down. Wine was poured. Seafood was devoured.
And then the conversation turned to...Christmas.
"What are we going to do about Christmas this year," my wife enquired between munching and cracking her way through a giant platter of marine life.
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I don't know exactly what triggered this unseasonal line of dialogue, unless it was the fact she was holding a pair of crab crackers in her hand and, therefore, word association played a part.
In an instant this utterance had changed things. The late summer sun suddenly acquired an autumnal feel and one's mind turned to darker nights, cold weather, central heating, gas bills.
But my wife wasn't being a spoilsport or ludicrously premature, because even before we'd sailed from England's shores for a few days on the Continent, I, too, had noticed the first signs of festive goodies creeping into the High Street.
Your e-mail basket also starts being besieged by inducements from restaurants, touting their Christmas menus, and every pub and hotel worth its salt has a banner urging you to book the office party with them.
Personally, I leave all things Christmas until the fortnight before the big day.
My wife is at odds with this and starts accruing pressies for all and sundry whenever she espies. I say it takes all the fun out of the seasonal rushing about as the big day nears.
Though her argument is that you see something that fits the bill as a Christmas gift, buy it, wrap it and relax a bit more as you tick it off the annual list of recipients.
However, the question she was posing while we were on our holidays referred to how we would be dividing our time between two daughters and four grandchildren.
This is an issue which, I guess, reverberates around many, many households.
My solution is always to hold the festivities at our place. That way, although you may be cramped, you still retain all your own home comforts.
Something in her tone of voice, though, suggests I may be fighting a losing battle this year.
Anyway, since our return to these shores, we've been hit by ludicrously wet and cold weather, as if to emphasise the advent of winter and the headlong helter-skelter towards Christmas.
So I have also just purchased and eaten a hot cross bun from our staff canteen, on the grounds that Easter can't come soon enough.