Friday, January 08, 2010

The holiday season is behind us but not before Père Noël assiduously noted our December displacement (a trip to England to spend Christmas with my parents) and remembered to drop our presents down the appropriate chimney.

Gabrielle bought me a Kelly Kettle an Irish device to boil water with just a few twigs, so fresh tea can be made while away from home rather than have to drink the strange tasting brew that comes out of a flask. A device to fiddle with that involves fire: very “boy-sy” and a great present;thank you darling! From me, she received a hardback book, A Women’s Guide to Saving the World, its contributions from many great women edited by Karen Eberhardt Shelton. In summary then, if the presents are anything to go by, Gabrielle will be saving the world … while I’m making myself a cup of tea!

That reminds me of the apocryphal story of a radio presenter on a Caribbean island phoning round the various embassies to ask what each ambassador would like for Christmas. The British ambassador, not wanting to appear too greedy, said that he’d rather like a decent pair of socks. Come Christmas Day, the radio presenter reads out the list of presents that the various ambassadors had hoped for. The South African ambassador had chosen and end to inequality in the world; the Chinese ambassador said he wanted an end to racial discrimination; the Egyptian ambassador spoke of his desire for world peace. And the British ambassador ... had asked for a pair of socks.

The only way we could go away together for Christmas was if we had someone to come and look after the animals. We were thus invaded by our good friends from Eastbourne, Phil and Sid, accompanied by three cute monsters, Willow, Fin and Tilly. Happily they stayed on for a few days after we got back, which meant we got to try out the Kelly Kettle on a beautiful Brittany beach,explore rock pools, collect mussels for a free supper, and then beat the children at a great card game called Uno; I’m not one for letting kids win, I think losing builds character.

Over the next blogs, I promise to get back to recognisably permaculture issues, such as how to winter prune your living willow structures, how to make a glass bottle wall and our successful meeting with the official depart-mental architect, who’s given us a green thumbs up to our design for our proposed house build, involved mud, straw and sedum roofs.