Hints & Tips
Hmmm. Christmas is coming, the goose is getting outta here! And I don’t blame the goose for a moment. Who would stick around just to be stuffed and used for roast potatoes?
Like the goose, and his old friend the turkey, I find Christmas a bitter sweet experience at the best of times.
On the one hand I get bought nice things and everyone is trying hard to be happy and jolly. On the other hand it’s expensibe, I eat too much and my regular favourite TV shows, like repeats of ‘Midsommer Murders’ on a Sunday – the most comforting, gruesome, shears, poison and hammer related slayings in history – are suddenly replaced by cheap USA, ‘straight to the DVD dungeon’ Christmas movies.
These ‘films’ have titles like, ooh I don’t know, “A Town Called Christmas”, “It’s a Dog’s Christmas” and “A Christmas Dream for Little Bobby”. These are usually sub-standard copies of Sleepless In Seattle or When Harry Met Sally with sleigh-bells and snow added, or involve storylines about sick children getting their Christmas wish of bringing their estranged parents back together… hang on, I’m filling up.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas, I love buying presents and I love a bit of warmth and sparkle – especially if it’s in a glass, as anyone who knows me will attest.
However, this Christmas I am having had a tough time buying for my great friend B. I’ve mentioned her before. She’s well-connected and not so much born with a silver- spoon in her mouth as a whole canteen of platinum cutlery. She’s not short of a penny or two and very generous to her friends and sometimes knowing what to purchase for her is a tad of a bind. She has all the baubles, bangles and beads you could want, a walk in wardorbe with more shoes in it than Imelda Marcos posessed and even her marmite comes from Fortnums so it’s a bit tough to delight and impress.
But, when you’re buying for a woman who is richer than The roman emperor Heliogabalus, who was so rich he allegedly never wore the same item of clothing or jewelry twice, floated his ships in rivers of wine and gave away gold and silver plate to friends and servants after once use. That’s someone you want to work for.
My friend gardener Brody, who knows her fairly well, told me she could really do with a proper long grass strimmer – like the excellent MD Tondu which is in the special Christmas gifts department at MowDirect and is very popular. It is, as attested to by Dick yesterday in his blog, a top machine loved by the masses big-time, but I’m not sure it’s quite her. It’s got loads of power and can take out grass that would defeat other machines (see the video here) and it’s only £279 instead of £399 but… it’s got no twinkly bits or girly bits and B is a bit of a twinkly girly girl.
So I look at twinkly stuff again, things with ribbons, bows, diamond studded gewgaws, trinkets and frippery of the sort that Dick has said is not popular this year and guess what?
When I ask my other dear friend Carol Montford-Voss, (generally something of a Christmas present expert) for advice, she tells me the very thing this year is to buy practical presents and she tries to push me down the road of buying B a voucher for a cookery course. These things are very popular I believe but I really don’t think B would go for it. She’s a nightmare in the kitchen, thinks french toast is a bit ‘cheffy’, wouldn’t know an amuse bouche from a Bocconcini and freaks out when the kettle boils so to tie her in a apron and put her in a strange kitchen full of sharp implements is an absolute no-no.
Then of course the solution presented itself as I was meandering the streets of the West End. She can’t cook, but the girl can certainly eat. I’ve watched her devour her bodyweight in oysters on occasion and she has never been defeated by a five course menu.
On the other hand, she never has a decent Christmas lunch. I’ve known her order a Chinese takeaway at her own Christmas Eve party when she burned the sausage rolls. So a special lunch in town it is. And where to go? Well. This Christmas I feel particularly festive so I hear the call of the Ivy. Holly at The Ivy? Come on, what’s not to love? Perhaps I will take Carol too. That would really pipe the pun icing on the cake. We might even get a free glass of something sparkly? Who knows. keep at it with the Christmas shopping lovely people and don’t forget – MowDirect’s 50 top Christmas Gifts department has loads of great present ideas for gardeners, and for budgets of all sizes, and during December, any ride-on including ALL LAWN AND GARDEN TRACTORS CAN BE BOUGHT WITH NINE MONTHS INTEREST FREE FINANCE. * See ya! Holly.
*subject to status