Musical Santas at Dobbie's the plant sellers.
We needed to find a present for gardener. Where better to look than in a large plant nursery-cum-garden tools-cum tat emporium. Gardener doesn't read my blog so he won't know that he is getting a pair of secateurs for Christmas. I almost bought him these Santas but they were part of the shop display only.
They played and sang non-stop Christmas carols. We didn't stay for long.
Don't you all hate supermarkets at this time of year? In spite of trying my hardest to avoid them the need for a visit could no longer be ignored. Cleaning materials, bog roll, every day groceries, potatoes, dog food and such boring stuff I buy there; the cold weather is forecast to return and my stores have to be replenished. So off we went to the supermarket.
Twenty minutes into the experience I was ready to commit murder. At this time of year they change their stock around; I normally try to get in and out as fast and efficiently as I can, but some very inconsiderate person had messed up my familiar aisles just to confuse me. Where there had been juice there were spirits, where there had been rubber gloves there were Christmas crackers. All I wanted were some food bags and clingfilm for leftovers. And while I was stomping through the aisles, backwards and forwards, I was forced to listen to an endless loop of Christmas jingles, a tinny, badly arranged, flat, featureless cacophony of sound.
The more I resented it the more obtrusive it became. I went through those aisles like a thing possessed, hissing 'ssshhhut-up-ssshhhut-up-ssshhhut-up' with every step I took. I actually came across several people singing along to the atrocities on the sound system! Morons! I have no idea why they stared at me and gave me and my trolley a wide berth.
I was still fizzing with nervous tension driving home.
How much more civilised it was to sit after dinner and write Christmas cards. A few chocolates, a glass of mulled wine and a CD by the The Sixteen playing quietly. Sublime. My rage melted like snow in the sun.
Today, on the 16th December, is traditionally the beginning of mince pie season, according to some ancient household books. Originally rectangular in shape and said to represent Christ's manger, mince pies were abominated as 'Popish and Superstitious' by Puritans, and described thus in 1656:
Idolatry in Crust! Babylon's whore
Defiled with superstition, like the Gentiles
Of Old, that worshipped onions, roots and lentils.
Later however, the 'solid, substantial, Protestant mince pie' became the champion of the English Christmas against ' imported foreign kickshaws'.
Eat mince pies made by as many different cooks as possible: for every cook's pie, you will have a lucky month in the coming year.
Don't blame me, I'm only the messenger.