FESTIVE fun at County Hall for the last full council meeting of 2008, where all 57 county councillors came together for a rousing end-of-year sing-a-long.

With a long day of meetings finally drawing to a close in the council chamber, bearded chairman Alwyn Davies and high-salaried chief executive Trish Haines suddenly produced large cut-out cardboard stars mounted on wooden sticks from behind their desks.

The meeting then suddenly took an unexpectedly surreal turn as Coun Davies and Mrs Haines, stars held proudly aloft, led the entire council through an impromptu version of the old Perry Como classic 'Catch a Falling Star and Put it in your Pocket'.

The sight of the often-bickering councillors from all sides of the chamber coming together in song was truly heart-warming... and you know what? They weren't half bad, either.

Just goes to show, given the right circumstances they CAN all sing from the same hymn-sheet after all...

OUR MPs have also been in festive mood, as evidenced by this impressive winter study by one PJ Luff of Mid-Worcestershire (see top right of page).

It's a little-known fact that Mr Luff is actually one of Westminster's keener photographers, and this fine picture, taken by the MP himself near Upton Snodsbury, will feature in the (parliamentary) House Magazine calendar for 2009.

Indeed, his pictures have actually appeared in the publication several times over the years, and also recently featured in a parliamentary photo exhibition organised by Jessops.

It seems to me his latest work offers a welcome reminder, at a time when we're all struggling with the cold weather, of just how beautiful a Worcestershire winter can be.

So thanks for that, Peter – and happy new year everyone.