Christmas has arrived already at the local garden centre. I have to admit to being slightly put out by the Tinsel Invasion.
promise I am not being a Christmas Grinch. I love almost everything about Christmas especially the gathering of the clans. When you have a family as large and spread out as ours, it is best to treat Christmas as more than a single day but a whole holiday when
different families can visit at their convenience - so Mr B and I generally enjoy a First Christmas, a Second Christmas, a Third Christmas and, quite possibly, a Fourth Christmas. You know what I am going to say - why have one Christmas Day a year when you
could have three? Or four?
You would imagine, therefore, that I would have revelled in the fact that the garden centre had gone All Christmassy, with vast displays
of trees with or without flashing lights, decorations by the score, Christmas related gifts and a Multiplicity of Baubles. Unfortunately, just for my latest visit, I wanted it to be Business as Usual. I wanted to see garden furniture, gazebos, occasional tables
with glass ornaments displayed on top, gas barbecues, chiminea (I do love a chiminea!), oil paintings of the Still Life Variety and wall hangings made of twisted metal. I wanted us to wander outside (rain permitting) among the A -Z of plants and shrubs. But,
no - everything had been moved out to accommodate the approach of the Festive Season.
The weather forecast for last weekend hadn’t been very good so I feared
it would be too wet for a ramble around Highdown Gardens or a trip along the prom (prom, prom.) Never mind, I thought, the garden centre would be an ideal outing, with lots to see and a café where we could finish off our trip out in the Traditional
Manner. “There are even coach trips laid on to the garden centre from local care homes,” I told my sister and her fella, by way of explanation. Thinking about it, I’m not sure it was the very best of introductions to the delights ahead...
It was, I have to admit, a slightly disappointing visit - even more so as the weather was actually rather pleasant and we could easily have enjoyed the hills of Highdown
or the sea spray from the prom instead but, having decided on the garden centre, I seemed quite unable to switch from one plan to a better one.
Sister and her fella refused to show disappointment though this might have been partly because they didn’t know what they were missing. In any case, they reassured me stoutly, it was good to chat over our coffee in the cafeteria and we had been able
to wander outside discussing the merits of varieties of fruit trees and the expensiveness of the (once) humble snowdrop.
Besides there was Strictly Come
Dancing to watch on TV after dinner. I hastily assembled score cards so that we could pretend to be the judges. We didn’t actually allocate roles, you understand, though Mr B did a pretty good impression of Craig Revel Horword by insisting on marking
down most of the dances and my brother in law is quite an excitable type, not unlike Bruno Tonioli. It was a good thing that Darcey Bussell has vacated her seat at the judges table because my sister and I would both have wanted to be Darcey. Not that we would
have argued about it - we never argue - but we would have spent rather too much time trying to out-Darcey each other. Which would never have done.
very good at judging. Either that, or we had it right and the esteemed panel of judges didn’t know what they were talking about. Of the fifteen celebrities dancing on the night, we only managed to match the judges score total once. My sister has insisted
on taking two sets of score cards home so that they can play along next week; Mr B, keeping true to Grumpy Craig, says he doesn’t think we should bother. He says it wouldn’t be nearly so much fun, anyway, being just the two of us.
Let me be the judge of that...