Is it safe to come out yet? What do you think? Dare I peek out over the parapet in the hope of spying some normality?
I've tried. I've tried very hard - and I think successfully - to pay lip service to the niceties of the season, (trees, cakes, pies, presents, goodwill to all men etc) - but it's not my natural habitat. I love the lights and the twinkling, the visit of my 3 wise young men and, sceptic that I am, can even find time for the Christmas story. I'm sorry folks, for me, bring on 12th night and The Last Day of the Sales.
Fortunately Welshpool does not appear to be in the thrall of the retail frenzy gripping the nation - cut price steaks vied with half-price Christmas cards in the town's new Sainsburys store. There didn't seem to be much of a rush for either. Further down the road in Cheap Charlie's Christmas Store, last week's forest of artificial spruce where ersatz polar bear and reindeer roamed in ersatz snow, is now a barren waste. Lawn mowers wait in the wings while desultory shoppers pick over baubles, reduced napkins and angels with broken wings. Perhaps the townsfolk have gone further afield or are glued mouse-in-hand to a computer screen and Curry's CutPriceSale.
I'm patiently waiting for the radio and the TV to be back to normal too. In the meantime I'm reading Byron Roger's biography of RS Thomas: 'The Man Who Walked into the West'. More of that later. Maybe.