Per­fect pack­ing comes un­done

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

UN­LIKE Kirstie All­sopp, the TV queen of home dec­o­rat­ing, I am cer­tain that in the run-up to Christ­mas I won’t have time to blow my own glass baubles, dip pears in gold leaf and cro­chet an en­tire Na­tiv­ity set. But along with leav­ing present-buy­ing un­til the last minute, cer­tain fes­tive tra­di­tions re­main, and I du­ti­fully clam­bered up to the loft at the week­end to re­trieve the Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions and prac­tise my con­tor­tion­ist skills in case I should ever fancy a ca­reer in a cir­cus pack­ing my­self into un­fea­si­bly small crates. Not for the first time, as I crouched un­com­fort­ably on lay­ers of in­su­la­tion wad­ding and crept un­der the beams, I was left won­der­ing how it is that no mat­ter how care­ful the pre­vi­ous year’s pack­ing-away op­er­a­tion, strings of fairy lights that were work­ing per­fectly 12 months ago tend to suf­fer a ter­mi­nal mal­func­tion once in stor­age. There was, of course, the in­evitable hunt for the third leg of the tree stand in the gloomier re­cesses of the roof while mut­ter­ing darkly about how I was sure it had been taped heav­ily into the box to en­sure there could be no es­cape. And I won’t deny it’s been some­what frus­trat­ing to dis­cover that there seems to have been a Delia Smithcran­berry-sauce-style surge to buy fairy lights this year, judg­ing by the chronic short­ages blight­ing some of our larger DIY stores (“Lights? You’ll be lucky”). Still, Christ­mas wouldn’t be the same without a few set­backs, and I hope there won’t be any short­age of wrap­ping pa­per, notwith­stand­ing the ex­hor­ta­tions of green cam­paign­ers to use old news­pa­pers in­stead. Ap­par­ently, we use enough wrap­ping pa­per to cover – wait for it – the Isle of Wight each Christ­mas, a fact which strikes me as one of the most un­der­whelm­ing of the year. If they’d have said the en­tire land mass of Africa, maybe I would have sec­ond thoughts. But the Isle of Wight? I’m afraid it will be the usual 10-me­tre rolls for me. Now all I need to do is buy a few presents…

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