This can be a very trying time of year . .. . early winter, or autumn as we used to know it. The weather is not particularly good just now, lots of rain and high winds. This tends to put folk off going out and particularly to the shopping centres so there is another blip in sales figures for clothing, gifts and household effects. Even holidays are not being booked through the traditional high street travel agents now – everyone is going online for that. What I do find however, when I meet up with a couple of social groups, is that they now think carefully and plan their shopping forays. We don’t have so much of the wandering aimlessly up and down the local high street any more. There seems to be a quiet satisfaction in researching various stores and getting the lowdown on what’s available and where. I was never conscious of this type of interest in all things shopping before but with funds needing to be spent carefully and wisely, everyone is trying to get the best bargains without compromising quality.