Friday, 25 December 2009

Christmas Greetings

My blogging has been seriously neglected of late, because of the usual Christmas busyness plus some rather exotic travel - more of which later. Once you get out of the habit of posting blogs I've discovered it's really hard to get back into it. So, in the spirit of getting back into blogging mode, and because it's Christmas, here are some pictures I took in late November at Edinburgh's Christmas market. It's the typical German market /big wheel arrangement which seems to be obligatory in British cities in December. I don't mean this in a dismissive sense. C and I are always childishly thrilled by the appearance of the little wooden booths and the fairground rides at this time of year and rush into town on the first possible evening after the market has opened, to munch on Bratkartoffel and slurp Gluehwein. We then have a go on the chairoplane or the merrygoround - usually with me muttering that "we're too old to be doing this!".

On my birthday at the end of November, we were having a rather wonderful, self-indulgent day in town (more of which later!) and spotted this strange aparition at the Christmas market.

These angels were 7 feet tall, with fantastic, white,  feathered wings. Best of all, they were on wheels! All of a sudden they would accelerate with no visible means of propulsion. They just glided along magically. Unfortunately the new whizzy i-phone does not have a video camera, unlike my old ordinary phone, so you will just have to take my word for the movement.

The angels swept through the Xmas market and fairground, and then with total disregard for road safety, they swooped out onto the street, joined the queue of traffic waiting at the lights, and then whizzed out onto Princes Street.

I love to think my council tax is being spent on such gloriously eccentric entertainment!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Life lessons

Do not drink a mug of strong coffee at 9pm, in an attempt to fend off sleep long enough to get some Xmas cards written and some paperwork completed (and a blog post published!). Result: it's half past midnight and I am wide awake. I don't suffer from insomnia generally. I'm used to getting my sleep! As soon as I realise I'm not going to get at least 7 hours sleep, I start to panic. And sleep recedes further.

I wonder if cocoa would be an antidote? Or a large brandy?

Monday, 7 December 2009

Visit from the chocolate fairy

My blogging has been interrupted by strange technical problems - I couldn't upload any pictures. I've also been very busy recently. This has meant that I've had plenty I've wanted to blog about, but haven't had any time to blog. What time I did have was consumed by fruitless attempts to upload pictures. I'll have to do some retrospective blogging over the next few days and catch up.

Anyway, after posting about my friend S being the beneficiary of random donations of violet creams in Manchester, look what arrived for me in the post:

It was an unexpected and delightful birthday pressie from S, who had found the time, in amongst staffing her stall in Manchester, to send me these. Aw. I felt quite teary when I opened them. Lots of other gorgeous things and cards arrived from friends and family. I felt very blessed, not just by the gifts, but by the knowledge that I had been thought of by these lovely people.

Unfortunately, I fear I may never be able to bring myself to eat the chocolates. They are too beautiful. Actually, that's total rubbish. What I really fear is that I will gorge on them in one sitting, rather than delicately savouring one every so often. Frankly, my helplessness in the face of chocolate of any kind means I ought to confine my consumption to mars bars or dairy milk. Giving me expensive, sophisticated chocolate is rather like offering a bottle of fine single malt whisky to a wino slumped on a park bench. But don't stop giving me the lovely chocs, generous friends!!!

I know for a fact the Charbonnel & Walker box will survive indefinitely in my 'lovely boxes' collection. This is an idiosyncratic and utterly useless collection of 'nice boxes' that things have been packaged in, and that I can't quite bring myself to throw away. For example, I have a tiny, heart-shaped box that a single Charbonnel & Walker champagne truffle arrived in one Valentine's Day. The truffle is long gone of course. In fact, I don't think it survived much beyond breakfast on Valentine's Day.  I have a particularly fine collection of empty 'White Company' boxes - remnants of presents from my oldest friend L. There are also a couple of empty perfume gift boxes - the sort that appear around Christmas - which were gifts from my Auntie B. Why do I keep them? The contents, much appreciated, were enjoyed and are long gone. It's not as if the boxes can be used again as gift boxes, as they are clearly branded 'White Company' or 'Clarins'. I suppose part of me imagines I will do something artistic and crafty and paint them or decorate them with 'decoupage' cut outs, and use them again. Yeah - that's really going to happen.

I increasingly fear that I when I die, no doubt alone, or in the company of various smelly dogs and cats, people will discover these odd little collections and consider me totally barmy. Like those people that conserve every newspaper they ever bought, or every plastic bag they acquired, and end up being featured on that tv programme about Sheffield bin men. What will the distant relatives burdened with clearing their old Auntie Rosie's house make of my collection of empty boxes, or the moth-ridden bolts of unused fabric and yarns, or the piles of lovely notebooks and journals, too good to use for 'everyday' notes; or the jars of special jams and spices I was 'saving for best'? I suppose it won't matter. I'll be dead. And it probably won't be relatives dealing with it but house clearance people. Or the council. Cheery thought! I think I'll reflect on my fabulous chocolates instead.