The 12 Days of Christmas 10: The Archers (yet again)

Well, it’s been a strange and eventful day. I generally avoid doing reviews on this blog because I’ve always been irrationally afraid that the person whose art I’m insulting will read what I have to say. It’s never been a big worry, because my online profile is pretty low, but now it’s happened.

I woke up this morning to find that my post about The Archers from the very first 12 days of Christmas had been shared on social media by the official Archers page. I now find myself in the confusing position of being both slightly star-struck to be tweeted by Lynda Snell, and horrified that I know who Lynda Snell is. And apparently I’ve displeased the fandom.

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The 12 days of Christmas 9: A lovely walk

I’ll keep this short, because I’ve just moved to London, and I’m rather busy what with starting a new job tomorrow and everything. The aforementioned job is also my excuse if the next three posts fail to materialise on time…

We decided to go for a lovely family walk in a lovely forest on the first lovely bright shiny new day of 2017. Sadly, 2017 had other ideas, and decided to make its first day a dull rainy miserable one. Being us, we went for a walk anyway; the below picture should give you an idea of how much the ‘fresh air’ helped me to appreciate our comparatively cosy house.

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The 12 days of Christmas 8: Fireworks

2016 is dead, long live 2017! We’re currently graced by the spontaneous presence of my aunt, uncle and cousin, who’ve popped over from Amsterdam to live the high life in rainy Herefordshire. As part of our rowdy New Year’s celebrations yesterday (read: quiet celebrations conducted at 11pm), my uncle produced some fireworks.

There are certain situations in which you don’t want to hear the phrase “Who needs instructions?”, and a home-grown firework display is one of them. I’m still recovering from the terror excitement of the evening, but despite some flagrant breaches of common-sense health and safety protocol, nobody suffered any permanent damage. To be honest, I think we got off lightly…

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The 12 days of Christmas 7: Return of the Festive Spirits

I know it’s customary to get roaring drunk on New Year’s Eve and spend the first of January as an abject puddle of misery, but this year I’ve shaken things up by having my hangover early. Today has been a day of pain and remorse, and I can assure you that tonight I will not be drinking anything containing even a smidgeon of ethanol.

The reason for yesterday’s overindulgence is that it was my final pub shift and, as Dad put it, I became “the victim of much generosity”. Last time I left the Royal Arms for a full-time job, I wrote a post about how much I love working there, and that still applies; it’s been great going back. However, the aftermath of my sendoff was such that I’ll be glad to avoid drinking establishments for a while. There’s nothing like lying awake at 4am with a pounding headache to remind you why you don’t normally do shots…


The 12 days of Christmas 6: We whisk you a Mary Christmas

Before you get all uppity about the appalling puns in the title, bear in mind that I’m ill, so you have to be nice – and anyway, bad puns are the very essence of Bakeoff, which is the theme of today’s post. I’ve already aired my thoughts on the loss of Bakeoff from the BBC so I won’t bore you with another rant, but it was a slightly odd experience watching the Christmas episodes. For one thing, there just isn’t the same tension when it’s not a full series; the stakes are lower, and it’s less exciting as a result.

What’s more, based on the suspiciously abundant foliage glimpsed through the tent windows, I’m pretty sure the “Christmas” episode was filmed in July, making the festivities seem a bit forced. This begs the question of whether the Bakeoff stars knew at the time of filming that terrible, terrible changes were afoot… If anyone has the answer to this, I’m genuinely interested to find out whether they were faking their festive cheer, or whether they already knew that the beating heart of the show was about to be ripped out and stamped upon. I’m not bitter, really.

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The 12 days of Christmas 5: Wrap up warm

Just an uber-quick one, because I’ll be late for my shift at the pub otherwise. I went sales shopping with Mum today in the hope of finding workwear for my new job (ooh, snuck that one past you subtly, didn’t I). I could write an essay about unflattering lighting, bad music, crowded spaces and ill-fitting trousers, but I don’t have time right now to go into just how much I loathe clothes shopping.

I’ll just share one particularly wintery bugbear: one-size-fits-all gloves. Why is it assumed that although all other clothes come in a bare minimum of three sizes, all gloves will magically fit all women? I have size 9 feet (a whole nother story lies therein) and hands to match. I have friends with size 3 feet, and hands to match. The same pair gloves will not fit both of us. 

Long story short: I found a pair of very stretchy gloves, which will do for now. But my normal trying-on experience is depicted below:


The 12 days of Christmas 4: Oh Christmas Tree

We’ve already reached the bit of Christmas where I don’t feel very Christmassy at all any more… there are no more presents, my clothes are feeling tight from days of overeating, and yet another cold has overwhelmed my puny immune system. The one thing still twinkling with festive cheer is our frankly excellent Christmas tree, selected and decorated by me and Mum.

We often get our Christmas tree from a local family who’ve been growing and selling them at eminently reasonably prices for years. The thing is, they’ve been growing and selling the same trees for some years, with the result that most of the remaining ones are a little on the large side. Since part of our house is a converted barn, we almost decided to make the most of the high ceiling and plump for a mighty  30-foot colossus of a conifer. But in the end we considered the size of the car, saw sense, and looked elsewhere for a slightly smaller model.