It's the end of November! We're hurtling towards Christmas and... (perhaps it's been the unseasonal weather) I'm not ready!

There's always a lot to do at this time of year, I find, but with the postal strikes I'll need to be organised earlier than usual. And this year there seem to be other pressures too - things I feel I should be doing?

There's been a steady stream of emails about 'Black Friday' urging me not to miss out on all the huge savings. In the 'cost of living crisis' I'd be foolish not to buy something I don't want or need at a slightly cheaper price than it has been or might be in the future?

Then there's the World Cup, of course. I'm not particularly interested in watching all the matches, but no need to worry because it's the top of the national news programmes and dominates the rest of the shortened bulletins. And children in Wales are given time off lessons, hopefully then to be taught how to deal with the subsequent disappointment and defeat.

The relentless pitch for Christmas is in earnest now too. The high street, hospitality trade and powers-that-be are all hoping we'll continue to spend freely to save businesses and the economy.

It is tempting to keep things as much as 'normal' as possible. But sometimes it's good to stop and pause and not get swept along with the crowd in needless frivolity, expense and indulgence. A simple meal and a small carefully chosen gift might be something to be grateful for this year. 

And a good book is always well received, I find!

Instead of looking at the bestseller charts, why not get some ideas by coming along to our meeting tomorrow evening when we'll be sharing some heartfelt recommendations of books we've discovered and enjoyed this year. To be sure I have enough chairs and mince pies, please reply to this email before noon tomorrow if you'd like to come along.

Thank you for reading.