1. I received many fine Christmas gifts, but I like to think that I’m one of a very limited number of people who was equally pleased to receive Volume 1 of the recent translation of Marcel Proust’s ‘A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu’ and the new Robbie Williams album.

2. There’s an advert on TV at the moment for an insurance firm solely for female drivers, called ‘Sheila’s Wheels’. Whilst I’ll acknowledge that the advert’s deliberately kitsch and tacky looking, I think they may have misjudged it – particularly in relation to their arguments about overall safety – by showing three women sitting in the front of a car which is, for much of the advert, driving backwards on the wrong side of the road.

3. In case any of you were unsure of the restorative power of tea, I would direct your attention towards the Doctor Who Christmas Special, in which his regeneration was aided by a cuppa. And if you won’t take a medical recommendation of that order, then … well, that’s that, I guess.

4. Interesting to see that ‘Life of Brian’ was voted the top comedy film of all time in one of those end-of-year polls. When it came out, I recall it being seen as naughty and subversive as well as potentially blasphemous. May take the edge off it in a way, but I like to think it shows a certain intellectual development in social terms.