Monday, 30 December 2013

In the Bleak Mid Winter
The winter season is speeding headlong towards the the 25th and it's busy. I get to the warehouse early as we've got a mass of orders to go out. We're based outside of Penzance, edging on to countryside, and I share the building with various creative industries and an undertakers - mmm yes. Christmas is hotting up directly in inverse proportion to my freezing work conditions. It's cold, the grass is crispy white and Maggie, my dog, creates wispy clouds as she sniffs out the rabbit runs. I'm questioning my style aversion to Uggs. They would keep my tootsies warm but reduce my already truncated Cornish legs to furry, suede ended stumps - and my friends and family will laugh at me, so I'll settle for intact pride and frost bitten toes and desert boots. It is still and quiet. Maggie sits out side waiting for the wind to catch and send a leaf or two flying so she can chase. I hobble around in my arctic cave packing aprons and oven gloves, cutting lengths of oilcloth.  I fold and tuck, willing the pile of orders to come to an end. I listen to women's hour and the splendid Jane Garvey and a London fashionista tells us the Ugg has had its day.  A lucky escape, I am relieved that I hadn't succumbed.

As the chill encroaches I’ve been seeking out warmth for you and have been tempted by beautiful woollen throws by Bronte. I love their subtle colours inspired by the landscape and  nature. Bronte Operate from one of Britain’s last remaining vertical mills they convert  raw wool into beautiful products including the initial design, dyeing, blending, spinning, and weaving. Their products are
stocked by Interiors Hyde Park in Plymouth see them on Facebook/interiorshydepark.
For your winter table this season an affordable alternative is to scour your charity shops and auctions for mismatched glassware. I have quite a collection of crystal glasses cast out over the last couple of decades by people less enamoured by the chintzy glitter of cut glass. A mismatched table of glasses, water jugs and decanters adds impact especially if you keep your table simple, white cloth and crocs and classic bone handled cutlery. Place a few natural wax candles in between and some ivy strands and see them twinkle.

I have various projects prior to Christmas, mostly food related but one is proving more difficult. For many years now I have been collecting vintage Christmas decorations. This is way before Kirsty Alsopp raised her posh snoot above the 'make do end mend' parapet. Each year as the year ends I trawl charity shops and auctions for once loved glass baubles and tacky santas. I have gathered some delights in my travels but the pickings in recent years have grown slim due to  the popularity of vintage lifestyles and interiors. These 'Johnny come latelys' have made my little talismans of Christmas wonder thin on the ground.  But joy of joys this week I chanced upon a small box of battered and loved glass ornaments with their delicate tin clasps and wire hoops that help suspend the precious globes - and all for 2 pounds. Nonchalantly I take the box to the counter along with a rather bald Father Christmas  figure who will add a winsome charm to my Xmas tableau. Two lovely ladies officiated at the charity shop,  one dressed as a fairy, white and fluffy as a middleaged snowball, the other as an elf, the kind of elf that would send cats up curtains and children screaming behind parents legs. These charming girls could not have known my pleasure selling me a box of yesterday's tat. I won't  say what my husband said when I bought them home ….

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