As that time of year is fast approaching, I increasingly sense there is an underlying level of competitiveness when it comes to Christmas shopping, in particular when it has been completed, wrapped and labelled. The more efficient (or should that be officious?!) among us have written a list (and checked it twice), categorised who has been naughty (and who has been nice) and gone and got the job done by the end of October. My fear, however, is that we all peak too soon! Surely we shouldn’t even be thinking about yuletide until Halloween is done and dusted?

Undoubtedly the wonderfully mild weather that has lingered since the summer has lulled us all into a false sense of security, and no doubt there is harsher weather around the corner, but it does seem slightly odd to be walking around Holt – looking resplendent in its dripping festive lights – in a balmy 14 degrees.

One thing my clients are keen to avoid when buying a house is an extended period between exchanging and completing, and I always try and facilitate an organised and efficient transaction as far as possible. If only it was as simple as Christmas shopping! Having said that, I am one of those people who tend to leave it to the last minute, blissfully confident that I can nip into the nearest town on the 23rd December – with no list – and no real idea of who wants what – and emerge an hour later laden with the perfect gifts; but as other parents of teenagers know only too well, it’s really not that easy! My wife is fairly easy to buy for, luckily, although the flip side of that is that she really likes jewellery! It may not be long before we reach the stage of choosing our own presents, or even buying our own presents and then unromantically paying each other back, but I am determined to be more organised this year and have even set myself a target date by which I have to complete the mission … 22nd December!