The farmer and I struggle each year to find one another a token present at Christmas. There is really nothing we want but it is rather nice on Christmas morning to exchange a small gift - and so we make some kind of effort.
As children we got what we were given and there was never enough money for it to be anything massive - certainly not in the circles either of us moved in.
But these days the nearer it gets to Christmas the more I am struck by the injustice in the world. In Africa there are children who live out their whole lives on rubbish heaps, scavenging enough 'rubbish' to keep alive by selling it. In North Africa there are children - and innocent men and women - whose whole lives have been turned up side down by the on-going conflict. In Europe there are thousands of refugees braving the increasingly cold weather trying to reach the sanctuary of a safe haven in any country which will have them.
On television we see women (and men) in their finery, strutting their stuff in a world full of glamour and glitter. And now, today, the farmer's paper has a Christmas gift guide with perfume at £210 for 100ml, handbags at £650, a bra and panties for £250 - I won't go on, I find it all too sickening.
If folk have that much money to spend then I would suggest there are better, more charitable ways of spending it. Safe havens for the people of Syria trying to get on with normal lives, blankets for children who are refugees in Eastern Europe and who have come from the heat of Africa to the intense cold of central Europe and still have nowhere to go. Again I could go on, but I do find it so sickening - in fact I feel sometimes like opting out of the whole thing called 'normal life' and going to live somewhere in isolation. But of course one cannot do that. Is there any kind of answer to the injustice of it all? I doubt it.