I hope that all my readers enjoy the Christmas season as much as they do it Catalonia:
Mary, Joseph and the shepherds are all gathered around the baby Jesus in his manger, as loudspeakers emit the occasional animal sound for extra, rustic effect.
But this is Catalonia, and no crib is complete without one additional figure.
He is known in Catalan as the caganer. That translates most politely as ‘the defecator’ – and there he is, squatting under a tree with his trousers down.
At the nearby Christmas market amid the sprigs of holly and Santa hats rows of miniature, crouching country boys are lined up for sale.
Innocuous-looking from the front, their buttocks are bare and each one has a small, brown deposit beneath.
Merry Christmas, everyone!