May I ask you a rather personal question? Have you ever visited a very busy and well known High Street store and as you dismount the escalator wonder why that old chap in the mirror in front of you is staring at you in a rather odd fashion, only to realise the aforementioned ‘old-boy/girl’ was actually you - yes you! It happened to me this morning as I was dragged around the packed town centre sulking like an irritable seven year old as we bought some rather expensive (well I thought so) presents for all sorts of people I barely know.

As you can imagine I was quite upset by this mirror image, not to say that I was that chuffed about buying presents for grownups when we had definitely jointly vowed only to buy pressies for children this Christmas - well, that’s perhaps a story for another day. Anyway, back to my collision with reality i.e. the fact that I am starting to look my age (mind your own business!) and perhaps I am not quite the sexy late middle-aged man that I thought I was - or more precisely, wanted to be.

Seeking to have my understandable fears to be set-to-rest by the woman in my life, I broached the subject with her, hoping to have my confidence lifted with a kind and reassuring few words. In fact all I could get from her was - “…think yourself lucky you still have your hair” whilst intimating that, yes - I might have a face similar to that of a welders bench, but - “looks aren’t everything you know.” Thanks for that dear heart! In truth, I have for some time wondered why creases on my face weren’t just because of my sleeping position and actually spent more than £5 on a tin of Nivea face cream without too much success.

Nevertheless, after the horror of that reflection in the mirror at the bottom of the escalator I made way discreetly to the front of the store where those women wearing ‘way-too-much-makeup’ always seem to hang out - why is that?

As I tried to summon up the courage to ask for some help regarding my ‘boat-race’ I noticed that these women are not the glamour-pusses of times past, who would look down their noses at the likes of you and me - but dressed rather like municipal parks attendants complete with dirty finger nails and chewing gum. What to do?

With my courage disappearing rather quickly, I decided against any drastic (or expensive) beauty regime and have convinced myself that those bags that appear regularly around my eyes for no apparent reason and a less than impressive jawline will have to see me to my grave along with the turkey neck and both nasal and ear hair. All this angst because I caught an unguarded glimpse of myself in a large unflattering mirror that will haunt me for the rest of my life. Without sounding too obsessive - why is it that a person can look okay verging on ‘quite nice’ in some mirrors, whilst in others, the phase - ‘a bag of spanners’ comes to mind?

A Very Merry Christmas to you all!