December 10 2012
Normally I cherish my weekends with my family and play golf, watch pap and sport on television, strum a guitar aimlessly, read, do a crossword, sketch out some ideas for new designs, and catch up on letters and paperwork – conducting most of these from the comfort of an old leather armchair exploding with stuffing in the sitting room. I feel mildly guilty, in a Calvinistic sort of way, about not chopping logs or solving the riddles of the universe. When people are staying I have an excuse to do less.
However, as Christmas beckons, we tradesmen – designers or otherwise – have to work all hours and it is all hands to the pump. In a company like ours, where we are creating a lot of bespoke and commissioned Christmas presents, the stress can sometimes reach boiler-room-in-a-battleship proportions. This has to be tempered, as do I, so that exquisite, delicate and beautifully made things can materialise without too many tears. We are all working this weekend and we are never late on a commission.
I am buying some leather-bound books from Peter Harrington in the Fulham Road as presents. It always has the most fantastic selection and it is a joy to browse there, as it is at John Sandoe, which has achieved a fabled and well-deserved reputation. With iPods and downloading, the joy of flipping through LPs or, later, CDs has gone, and it is sometimes difficult to believe that it actually happened. I am daily made aware of the ephemeral nature of things, especially gadgets and electricals.
I am ambivalent about Christmas. I love the trees and the lights and the whole rigmarole, but being dependent on selling my wares to live has interfered with the excitement of the run-up to it all. So, I’m always either working or out networking, and experiencing sleepless nights about how late the Christmas rush is. My friends are incoherent with goodwill (I think that’s what it is), and I have a rictus from trying to be nice to people and covering up how close I am to tears.
I am also the world’s most inefficient and befuddled shopper, needing a few short bursts to get it done, as well as kind, patient, preferably smiling, salespeople. On Sunday I give Harrods and Peter Jones a blast and the Burlington Arcade a quick run. This often means that I have little clue what I actually bought and what I rejected, so that, as I ask for everything to be wrapped, I am sometimes as surprised as the recipient. I long for Christmas Day itself. It’s really my favourite day of the year.
I played golf yesterday early in the morning and lost from an apparently unassailable position. I blame stressful thoughts of the season for putting me off. My caddie, Hippie Dave, is really more of a very agreeable walking companion and has been for well over 10 years. When it gets cold, he goes to Goa for a few months and arses around. No stress for him at this time of year. A lot of us secretly envy his freedom. Well, obviously it is not a secret any more.
This is my last blog post, which is sad, as I have rather enjoyed it, so a very happy Christmas to anyone who has been kind enough to read it. Have a stress-free break, leading to a wonderful 2013.