Exmouth auctioneer Piers Motley-Nash writes for the Journal

It's been a strange run up to Christmas, which I'm not a huge fan of anyway.

Often at this time of year I manage to leave work behind (and my wife and kids!) and travel to some remote place like Namibia or Morocco. Even a few months ago I had some hope to get away somewhere.

Like everyone else, any plans I might have had have been pushed to the side.

Instead we worked until Christmas Eve preparing a three day New Year sale for January 18-20.

If you passed the auction room in the early hours you may well have seen the lights on at 5am or earlier as I lot in. Every time I'm getting on top of things another 50 lots are brought in.

As I've mentioned, I'm not usually very festive now my kids are 21 and 17. I don't like the commercial side and would rather be having a walk in the middle of the day than sitting down to overindulge!

This year, sadly, my mother shall be Christmasing alone and I shan't be seeing my sister and her family either.

On Christmas morning, we are having friends over who have been shielding since April due to health reasons and seeing them in the garden.

We had been expecting them to stay for the whole day and for them to stay with us, but we have to be careful.

We shall also see my wife's family, from a distance, who are all having to cope with health problems and very limited contact.

I'm looking forward to the bit of company we shall have.

There has been a huge lack of friends and family. I'm looking forward to a few good walks with Billy our dog _ whatever the weather throws at us!

I shall also be looking forward to the rest after the busy time we have had and I'm looking forward to our late Christmas meal having seen friends in the morning.

I can't wait for next year either, and all the opportunities it shall bring.

I'm under no illusions that there shall be a quick fix to all of this, but hope by the end of next year we shall be looking back and thinking thank goodness that's over!

My sleeve is already rolled up waiting the call for vaccination. To all of those in doubt I have been vaccinated for extreme travel destinations for every known preventable disease and as far as I am aware it has had no adverse effects on me (though Boo and my kids might well disagree with this statement!).

Above all else I'm looking forward to next Christmas when I can get back to normal and complain about all the things I hate about it.

I hope Christmas was a success and wish us all a positive 2021