There’s something about Winchester at this time of year.

Many years ago, as a child, we’d get in the car and travel down the M3 to Central Hampshire, and come to visit my Great Aunt, who used to live in St John’s Street.

I only ever remember this happening in the winter, and after a home-cooked traditional lunch of meat and potatoes, we would all trek up and down the High Street, often in the rain, and sometimes snow.

It was always exciting, visiting the toy shops and working out what we wanted for Christmas (often at Beatties, which is where JJB Sports is now). There was something magical about the High Street then, with the decorations swinging in the biting wind, dressed-up enticing shop windows, and people playing festive music on the streets. I don’t remember it in any other town.

That’s a set of memories I’ve been able to carry forward, and when I see stories in the Hampshire Chronicle mentioning the annual ice rink and Christmas market, it’s easy to think back to those childhood memories. Give or take a few shops closing and opening and myself growing a few feet taller, Winchester during the winter has changed very little.The decorations seem to have got better (especially this year, much nicer thank you City Council!); we now have a Christmas market and ice rink, and there’s a whole programme of events that have just been popped through my front door.

Whatever the economic or political outlook, whether it has been a good 2008 or bad, as the song goes - it’s still a wonderful time of year, especially in our town.