Wednesday, December 14, 2005


I thought I’d been so organised but here I am, mid-December, making a list of all the things I haven’t done yet and it’s a mile long. Why didn’t I organise the flowers for my aunts weeks ago? Why didn’t I buy those lights when I saw them; I really wanted some Christmas bling this year to compete with my 84-year-old neighbour, whose hedge is already lit up like … well a Christmas tree. And I need some sparkly glam tinsel for Duchess and Saddleback, the stone pigs who guard our gates.

If there’s isn’t a word for putting off confronting Christmas in the hope that it won’t happen, there should be. A signed copy of a book goes to the best suggestion!

The one thing I haven’t had to worry about this year is Christmas cards. Last year I horrified myself with the amount I spent on them so this year I’ve posted a Christmas card on my website – one of my best beloved’s photographs of Stourhead gardens near Bath – and put the money I would have spend on cards and postage to more practical use.

Visiting the Oxfam Unwrapped website was actually the best fun I’ve ever had choosing presents. Life enhancing. Uplifting. Totally joyous. Exactly how Christmas should be. So, if you’ve got a gap on your mantelpiece this year, imagine it filled with a camel (I’ve called her Harriet), a trained midwife and a hundred people who’ll have safe drinking water. My contribution to the true spirit of Christmas.

Now back to the list…

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