Now that the Halloween decorations have disappeared (thank
you to the person who finally took in the coffin that was propped up next to
their front door for over a week!), and I’m hoping we might have heard the last
of the fireworks until the New Year, I suppose it won’t be long now before the
first flashing lights, plastic snowmen, rooftop sleighs and other symbols of
Christmas appear on the houses around us. After all, they’ve been in the shops
I’m not a Scrooge, I do enjoy Christmas, but I think my
Grandad had the right idea when he’d say sternly, ‘There are only twelve days
of Christmas,’ if anyone in the family started the celebrations too soon.
But, with the days becoming shorter and drearier in these
few weeks before Christmas, I would like to brighten up my outside space
without spending a fortune on tacky decorations. Will this do?
Our special car needs special cleaning cloths (or so I’m
told), but they also make colourful flags for the back garden.
And I’m glad I had the foresight to plant these sunny
chrysanths in the front garden. They’ve survived our first frost, torrential
rain and gale force winds.
Do you decorate the outside of your home at this time of
year? A simple holly wreath? Or an all singing, all dancing winter
When I am Rich I’ll be able to employ someone to organize my
holidays for me. I’ll tell them where I want to go and leave it up to them to book the
accommodation, make the travel arrangements, research the area and draw up a
detailed plan of where to go and what to do each day.
On second thoughts … I’d rather make my own adventure.
When I am Rich I’ll have plenty of beehives dotted around my garden, and dozens of Californian lilacs (Ceanothus).
The one Californian
lilac I’ve got is a bit of a problem. If I let it grow to the size it wants to
be I wouldn’t be able to see out of my front window. Even with annual pruning
it takes up a large part of my tiny front garden.
But I’m pleased it’s there
because as soon as the first clusters of blue flowers appear it attracts all
sorts of bees.
I don’t know where they all come from, but I could happily watch them all day. It's so relaxing, watching other people work, isn't it?
When I am Rich, I’d love to have beautiful, original
artworks in every room of my house. And perhaps a few sculptures for the garden
But even if I had £115 million to spare, I wouldn’t be
tempted to buy a painting by Picasso, da Vinci, Turner or even my favourite, Van Gogh. I’d
rather use my money to support living artists than give it away to secretive
collectors, dealers and auction houses.
But, at the risk of being hypocritical, I can’t help
wondering how much Christie’s would be able to get for this masterpiece:
At least, that’s what I thought when I saw my entry to MagicOxygen’s short story competition hadn’t made the shortlist.
Trying to be optimistic, I decided to look on this not as a
failure, but as an opportunity to find another home for that particular story. It might do
better in a different competition. Perhaps a paying magazine will accept it.
Who knows, one day it could even catch the eye of a top agent or publisher!
And then I noticed
an even brighter silver lining.
One of the things that persuaded me to pay the £5 entry fee
to the competition was that Magic Oxygen pledged to plant a tree in a Word Forest in Kenya for every entrant.
Look, they’ve sent me the GPS coordinates so I can see
where my tree will grow.