You know when the first Christmas shop opens (take a bow Brown Thomas, opening on 16 August), everyone opines ‘it’s too early, sure it’s not Halloween yet’. There is, however, something magical about an Irish Christmas, which is practically impossible to recreate when living abroad. So this weekend we had Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, so that my visiting Australian nephew and nieces could have a better appreciation of what their mother laments for each 25 December.

I was lucky to be able to rely on my local butcher and friend, Edward O’Brien in Mullinahone, to source the smoked ham that I had forgotten to order. On Saturday morning I was handed what really was a superb piece of meat, all 7.8kg of it. Edward had sourced it from Crowes in Dundrum, traditionally smoked in a smoke house, he told me, and without blowing my own trumpet, the ozzies championed ‘Auntie Mimi’s meat’ as the highlight. This meal was substantial and we will be eating it for a week, and hopefully all of it will be consumed and none wasted.