Monday, 10 November 2008


So the season is upon once more, where we look mournfully through Sarah Raven's Christmas book and wish we'd started preparing earlier. The Narcissi Paperwhites remain in their bags comme toujours, and in what seems like a flash, it will be too late to order presents from anywhere except Amazon. Sigh, what a lovely time it is. 

I spent a few happy minutes the other day perusing what they were chucking out half price at B&Q, though, and came up with some fab ideas for credit-crunch-appropriate presents for all my gardening friends. (Don't you love it when journalists do this? Its like, you've just given away what you're buying your wife! Don't you think she or anyone she knows might read this paper?

Firstly I spotted these great little novelty Bills and Bens, that's for Arabella Sock, as I know how much she loves that kind of thing. Plus I'm sure she'll be able to put some funny faces on them and make an entertainment both beauteous and tasteful for all of us here in in blogoland. 

Next I was looking for something for Garden Monkey, and eventually I trumped even myself with this absolutely gorgeous Solar Fairy light. But it's not like some crappy old candle thing! It's a real light shaped like a fairy! Praying!* I think maybe American & Dutch readers of this blog should just stop reading now as I imagine they are probably feeling pretty jealous, and the feeling is only going to get worse as this featurette progresses. 

*it's also hand-painted! By Chinese orphans! 

The next relatively unique gift I was able to ferret from the depths of the B&Q gift bag is this fantastic Power Rock. I'm giving this to James, for he is the Rock upon which our blogsphere is founded. It looks just like a rock, but actually it's a plug socket into which you can plug all kinds of noise-making devices for the garden. (Perhaps a leaf-blower, hedge-trimmer, or even that natty i-phone James is always bragging about!) How much more could you actually want, nay receive, in a gift? 

There's two more special people who deserve a christmas gift from the Baklava. (Actually, there are three, because there's also Alex, but unfortunately shed-related gifts were at a surprising ebb during my visit and I'll have to get something for him another day.)

In the meantime, I bought this probably very ecological spaghnum moss for Britain's Greenest Horticultural Sexpot, Matthew Wilson : there you go Mateus, you don't have to have dull old plantings to be green...

and this for VP, because I've seen inside her car! 
(Er, casteth not the mote from the eye of your neighbour, etc. Ed.)

Well anyway, there we go, I think I've got all those presents pretty much sorted! Phew, now I can sit down with a nice mince pie and relax. 

Although I am still on the lookout for a) a little froggie sitting on a lily pad, fishing with a fishing rod, for Victoria's pond, and b) a lovely little calendar of probably something like "the Funny Things Dogs Say" for Yolanda. 


Zoë said...

I have a signed copy of said book I plan to give away nearer to xmas.

I need to get my act together first though!

The Bill and Ben plus weed are so dire I may have to buy myself some!

Zoë xx

JamesA-S said...

Emma, I am so very touched. The power rock is (as you guessed) all I ever wantted. It will, I think, be particularly witty if I plugged my portable musiccassette player in and played a selection of "Power Rock" ballads to my assembled neighbours and friend. Such classics as Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf or Tom Sawyer by Rush. It would a perfect evening and you, Emma, will be invited.
(For some extraordinary and unexplainable reason I wrote that in German accent. Try and read it while thinking hard about lederhosen and sausages and you will see what I mean. I apologise tall Germans in the audience.)

James(again) said...

Not just Chinese orphans but redundant Chinese orphans. That has to do something for the resale value.

Alex said...

No matter, just send money.

As Tom Lehrer sang on the subject of presents:

It doesn't matter how sincere it is,
Nor how heartfelt the spirit.
Sentiment will not endear it.
All that matter is the price

emmat said...

Yes anyone wishing to purchase duplicates of any of these gifts should form an orderly line outside B&Q.

But Zoe, OMG, where did you get your signed SR cookbook??? It's no good giving it away nearer Christmas, we will have made all our delicious Christmas chili jams and complicated sliver table centrepieces by then!!!!

emmat said...

Alex, I am sending you some shedvouchers. Ha ha. The gift full of hatred, it's like money, it's priced like money, you just can't actually spend it like money.

The Garden Monkey said...

I don't mean to sound ungrateful but that is a truly hideous piece of fecking rubbish.

Mind you, I am planning on getting a gun soon, so I could use it for target practise.

I'm going to buy you a cat for Christmas. Or five.

You'll be knoee high in poo, by Burns Night.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Those things are great! I found what I want for Christmas here: It's called "Alien Gnome Bandits Garden Accent." Check it out, it's just warped & twisted enough for my garden. See, not all the great stuff is in the UK.

emmat said...

Mr McGregors Daughter, it is a garden ornament based on the extreme trauma of alien abduction! How can you laugh? How heartless! Next you will be telling me you have got a "hilarious" book about how to murder cute little slugs

emmat said...


The Garden Monkey said...

BTW a knoee is what one traditionally calls one's knees at Christmas time.

It comes from the carol "The First Knoee"

The Garden Monkey said...

PS - How big a jiffy bag would I need, to fit 5 cats in?

And how early would I need to send it to catch the Christmas post?

emmat said...

okay, you might not have bought me any cats, but you've arranged something practically as bad. I know you were behind the plot for my next-door-neighbour to be standing outside his house yesterday evening looking mournful, at which point I was foolishly sucked in to his Christmas plans... NOW I not ONLY have to feed the evil devil cat I wrote about on Pet Poetry Day but ALSO Amelia's cat from down the road as she is going to New York! ! !

From the 19th to the 25th!!!

Oh my god I am going to be having to resist the temptation all the time to put poison in their food (only joking if you are reading amelia)

matthew wilson said...

Sphagnum moss? Sphagnum bleedin' moss? I've a good mind to come round and let loose a hoard of feral cats in your garden....

emmat said...

that's so sweet of you! I'm glad you like it. Thank you Matthew, but as I said, no cats please!

Yolanda Elizabet said...

What is it with people trying to fobb you off with cats, Emma? Not grocking that at all. ;-)

Perhaps I could find you some cute fairy lights in the shape of widdle puddytats? Handpainted by redundant Chinese orphans of course as I have it on good authority that that would do wonders for their resale value in the very unlikely event you do not care for said fairy lights at all. It would make a wonderful present for you and be very suitable for James as well. Great idea, killing 2 gardeners with one rock err stone.

BTW I haven't mentioned this before (couldn't as I was speechless) but I was totally bowled over by your excellent grasp of the Dutch language re my post about puppy Tara. ;-) And I'm so very touched by the fact that you are hunting high and low for a nice present for Christmas for me. Pwwwwwwfffffft! (sound of a hanky being blown into by a deeply touched person)

Victoria said...

For you, Emma, I would even HAVE a little froggie with a fishing rod in my pond. I'm deeply touched. Tho slightly worried about you...

VP said...

Oh Emma, how thoughtful of you. I'll be posting a full report on my gratitude shortly.

As for La Raven - she's at Toppings bookshop in Bath next week for a book signing...

patientgardener said...

Ah how times change - 10 years or so ago we were all following the Delia Smith Christmas book - even Men Behaving Badly. Whilst I have the Delia one I havent bought any more as it simply demonstrated to me what I already knew I will never be a domestic goddess and to be honest I am happy with that!!!!!!

emmat said...

Patientgardener, do not even begin to get me started on Christmas books. I could literally go on Mastermind with it as a specialised subject:
"What one (some would argue disgusting) addition to Christmas cake recipe does Nigella Lawson make ?"
"What dish starts Elizabeth David's christmas off with a bang, given that it contains an illegal ingredient?"
"What proportions of dried fruit occur in Gary Rhodes Christmas pudding?"
"What vegetarian centrepiece dish for Christmas Day does Sarah Raven propose?"
"What does Delia Smith claim always to listen to while she defrosts the sausage rolls?"
"What would you be served for Christmas Lunch at Raymond Blanc's house?"
honestly i could just go on and on