Katie Johnson - Shropshire Life Columnist

PUBLISHED: 12:06 14 January 2011 | UPDATED: 18:10 20 February 2013

Katie Johnson - Shropshire Life Columnist

Katie Johnson - Shropshire Life Columnist

Writer and broadcaster Katie Johnson and husband Glyn will be spending Christmas with their family and other animals at their smallholding on the border of south Shropshire and north Herefordshire

So here we are then... in December and once more building towards Christmas although weve had the cards, crackers and posh chocolates in the shops since September. One of my pals is on her third tin of well-known confectionery already, and my sister keeps buying edible tree decorations but as yet theres no sign of a tree.

I love this time of year for the atmosphere it generates, until the last minute when you realise no-one has bought the annual jar of cranberry sauce and all of a sudden the spirit of goodwill goes out the window. You think of a shopping strategy which includes getting up in the middle of the night so youll be able to park in town, and then you realise that everyone else has had the same plan.

Thank goodness then for carol singing, many a happy time spent joining in with a group of primary school children and finding most of them are taller than me. Shrewsbury once again will play host to Carols in the Square; Ludlow Assembly Rooms will be transformed into an ice rink for a few days and RAF Cosford hosts its Wartime Christmas experience. Good to see that Severn Valley Railway is having its Santa Sing-along too. Sadly we lost John Leach from the railway earlier in the year. John was the public face for them, a lovely man. I remember interviewing him once in the pouring rain. We thought wed keep dry by sheltering in a doorway but John must have been standing under a hole as water kept dripping down the back of his neck, but he carried on, a true professional and a real gentleman.

It is the time of year when we feel the absence of those no longer with us a little more keenly, so once more the Rotary clubs in the county have their annual Tree of Light which enables us to remember while raising money for good causes.

On television well no doubt have the usual repeats which will include a yellow brick road and a woman running up a hill while singing, which we all know is physically impossible! Therell also be the offering of Strictly, Dr Who and soaps with not one happy storyline between them but I am looking forward to seeing the brand new telling of the Nativity by Tony Jordan, he of Life on Mars and Hustle fame.

Yet again there is the campaign to keep the winner of X Factor getting to the coveted Christmas Number 1 slot this year by suggesting we all opt for the silent composition by John Cage lasting four minutes 33 seconds. If it had been written by a woman, it would last a lot longer.

One of my favourite things to do this month is getting the tree. Well be having a real one again in the lounge which means rearranging the furniture and having to walk single file to get past it, and well have the odd sprig of mistletoe from Tenbury Wells.

At home we now have two Berkshire pigs clearing a patch of woodland as well as the hens, cows and sheep out in the field. Just hoping we dont get any Chinese Lanterns coming our way. I know they look beautiful and many will be lit to welcome in the New Year, but sadly their popularity has seen a surge in livestock being killed by eating the wire from the degraded lanterns. There has been a call to ban them, but surely they could just make them biodegradable?"Lets hope so.

So, the end of another year whether were ready or not. Ive been asked to read a lesson at Midnight Mass so will probably have to have a sleep before I go. Glyns mum and dad will be coming over to stay so were ready with our own version of a stair lift, i.e. a chair and a rope, and, as Ive not found a man yet for my sister, shell be over too.

So from Hedgebottom Home, wishing you a safe and happy Christmas and see you next year.

Writer and broadcaster Katie Johnson and her husband Glyn will be spending Christmas with their family and other animals at their smallholding on the border of south Shropshire and north Herefordshire.

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