No Rest for the Wicked

In previous years I have managed to keep posting regularly through December, although the topic of my posts has steadily moved away from gardening towards Christmas, the second love of my life. This year I’ve found it harder to strike a balance between work, travel and home life, and the blog has suffered as a consequence. I’m still here, frustrated as ever, and I hope you haven’t missed me too much. I’ve missed you.

My garden has been ravaged by northerly winds but not yet by frost. Despite some very chilly nights the sea air and sheltered microclimate has protected both plots from damaging subzero temperatures. This is fortunate as my new greenhouse heater remains in its box, and there’s no room at the inn for any more plants requiring shelter. For the next 2 or 3 months I have to cross my fingers and hope for the best. A few casualties, though sad, will make way for exciting new acquisitions next year.

I have asked my dad to make me a potting bench for Christmas. I had a look at what is available via the Internet and concluded it’s all rather small and flimsy. I want a table I can plonk big, heavy, wet pots on, not an assemblage of matchsticks which looks like it might splinter under the weight of 10 seed packets. My dad is an excellent carpenter in the rustic sense and enjoys a project, so this will be right up his street. It also creates an excuse for him to come and visit in the spring. I look forward to not having to bend or kneel on a concrete garage floor far more than I would eating a box of chocolates or wallowing in a prettily scented bath.

Meanwhile at work, I have mostly been talking about tinsel. The interest in this once unfashionable form of Christmas decoration has been intense this year. I’ve been quoted in every paper from The Sun to The Telegraph, and been on radio and TV talking about the sparkly stuff. In fact tinsel has been so popular this year that I’ve had to repeat buy it to keep up with demand.

Thus far, no tinsel has made it back to The Watch House; not because I don’t like it, but because every glittering shred has been sold and every sample proffered for office decoration. It’s great to see people falling in love with this simple-yet-ancient form of Christmas decoration once again. It was first invented in Germany in 1610, at which time it was fashioned from pure silver and used as a means of throwing candlelight onto religious icons and effigies. It’s come a long way since then, although ours is made locally in Wales. Whether you consider tinsel gaudy, cheap, tacky, dated or passé, you can’t deny it sparkles. If I had half as much sparkle at this stage in the run up to Christmas, I’d be a happy man.

For fear of disappearing from all forms of Social Media entirely (surely this must be a recognised phobia by now?) I have been using Instagram more and more through December. My Christmas cracker supplier introduced me to an app called Kirakira which adds extra sparkles into photos and videos. Needless to say this has become something of a temporary obsession; it can even stop me from looking lacklustre at 4am when I get up for work, although I have not yet discovered the app which removes bags from under the eyes.

Below, a video piece I recorded last week with online magazine The Pool. I seem to have left my neck and my corset at home that day, hence I look rather like more like an Oopma-Loompa than I’d like. TFG.