I've just been leafing through our Christmas cards, and think that my favourite is the chintziest, depicting a badly drawn exterior scene including a church with warmly lit windows, a group of choir boys standing just outside a kissing-gate, a large decorated Christmas tree with men, women and children in hats and scarves approaching in the snow - the whole liberally sprinkled with glitter dust which sparkles alluringly.
Why does this one take the edge over all the others, the beautiful script of Jack@'s, the carefully chosen tasteful ones, the scenes of the Peak District covered in snow, the 400 year-old nativity scenes by old masters, etc? Because it throws me back to childhood. Dickens said that Christmas was the time when we could all be excused when we revert back to the delusions of childhood. The word 'delusions' is very apt right now, when we need this sort of escapism more than any other time in at least my memory.
I am still trying to work out who sent the Irish one headed, 'Greetings from Mountmellick'. Any ideas?
There used to be a shop here called 'The Fairy Shop', and it corresponded to my oldest grand-daughter's brief flirtation with everything pink. It was run by a very camp, very large, gay man, and I am not sure if he opened the shop for any reason other than he saw a gap in the market in which he could make quite a bit of money by supplying pre-pubescent girls with wands, wings, lacy little dresses and all the other requisites needed by female fairies. It didn't last long, but at least I bought something there.
I asked for a pair of wings and he asked how old the little girl was, so I told him. He went out the back and returned with a tiny little pair of butterfly ones, and I immediately said that they were far too small. My grand-daughter was extremely large for her age.
He came back with another set, and they too were too small. I asked him to bring the largest in stock, and he produced a giant pair which he insisted were far too big, but I said that they would be perfect. I really think that he suspected that I was buying them for myself, but didn't bother to correct him.
I paid for them and he put them in a large, pink carrier bag then before I could stop him, he dipped his hand into a bowl next to the till which I hadn't previously noticed, and - with a theatrical flourish - chucked a great handful of glitter-dust over the whole lot before I could stop him.
For the next year or two, I kept seeing little bits of sparkle catching the light in various parts of the room where she first took the wings out of the bag.