Wednesday, 18 November 2015


I feel like the only thing I can do when something terrible happens is shut the fuck up, so I did.

On my radar this week:


This chocolate:

I had a very disappointing trip yesterday to the newly opened health food/organic shop up the road. This has been touted as some kind of Whole Foods-esque paradise, and I went in hope of freshly mutilated kale, green juice, chia pudding and whatever else the fuck the ill-fed children of hipster health foods are eating these days, but er, nope, it looks like Alligator Whole Food Co-Op in York circa 1982, complete with staff who might indeed have worked in Alligator in 1982. I walked round twice in growing disappointment then bought this and I must say, it is very tasty and really salty, in a good way. I thought it might turn me into one of those "one square of top quality dark chocolate" women, has it fuck, I have a square of this THEN one of my dwindling reserve of mocha KitKats.

Advent Calendars

I had a highly regrettable wander through the Amazon advent calendar section yesterday (even though OH HAI DID I NOT TELL YOU we are actually going to Thailand on the 18th December for 2 weeks, my delayed 40th birthday present, holy shit, terror and delight in equal measure, more about this doubtless anon.).

I love advent so much. Despite having not a religious bone in my body, advent hymns (Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending, Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel, On Jordan's Banks The Baptist's Cry) do something astonishing to me and the whole spirit of advent - the real spirit, awe, anticipation, wonder - fills me with shivering delight and painful nostalgia, bringing back the ghosts of advents past: choir practices, hymns with Mr Hastie, end of term excitement, the freezing Wadham chapel, mist and frost and mystery. Sadly, advent 2015 style is a whole unseemly international buffet of wrongness and these advent calendars typify that. O tempora, o mores.

 I am pretty sure we have already been over my extremely presbyterian taste in Advent Calendars several times, I mean, I bore on about it enough. Basically, apart from our home crafted matchbox calendar of incompetence, usually stuffed by the boys with plastic spiders and Nurofen, only paper is acceptable,  ideally paper featuring small, boring devotional scenes or a robin at a pinch. Do not tempt me with your £200 beauty calendars, gin calendars, Chupa Chups calendars etc etc etc, not today, Satan (I swither between Ian Paisley and Bianca del Rio from S6 of RuPaul's Drag Race when I say this).

Chief offenders:

1. Dog advent calendars

Your dog is not awaiting the birth of our Saviour in awe and wonder and devotion. Your dog could not care less. He is waiting to lick his balls, oh hang on, he isn't even waiting for that.

2. Erotic advent calendars

"24 tasty bums, boobs and willies!"

OUR LORD DID NOT GIVE  HIS ONLY SON SO THAT YOU COULD PLUCK A PENIS SHAPED CHOCOLATE OUT OF THAT MAN'S ARMPIT. OR OUT OF HIS CROTCH FOR THAT MATTER. This is definitely a sign of the imminent apocalypse. Dr Paisley would have had something to say about this.

3. Personalised Gail from Corrie advent calendar

"Do you know someone who would really love to date Helen Worth?"
A: No, or if I do, they are keeping it quiet.

I don't feel personally affronted by this, just deeply puzzled. Who is this for? Who? "THE STEPS TO A GLITTERING COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS NEVER BEEN MORE SIMPLE..." reads the text beneath this, in overwrought and grammatically puzzling capital letters.

A surprising number of the remaining offerings featured German football teams, several different ones, who knew that German football advent chocolate was a thing, eh.

As for me, I am hesitating between Altarpieces:

(This would really get the kids' hearts racing in the morning. "Look! A detail from the Wilton Diptych, mummy!") 

This one screams P.A.R.T.Y

I considered and rejected this pleasant RSPB one, because chocolate, but perhaps some of you godless sybarites might like it:

It hasn't been the same since the SPCK bookshop stopped doing the ones that only had bible verses in. 


I am reading Julian Barnes' book of art essays, Keeping An Eye Open and oh my god, they are so wonderful. The first one on GĂ©ricault's Raft of the Medusa had me actually breathless, it is SO GOOD. *pretentious interlude ends*

I am going to stop here because I have nothing else to say, which seems like a good enough reason.


65% faintly martyred by Wednesday
20% cracked lips
15% concerned that wine 3 days in a row is a bad precedent, but disinclined to do anything about it.



CJ said...

Gin you say... Honestly, you have outdone yourself in researching all the advent badness out there. I am almost lost for words. It's not A Christmas Mystery is it. CJ x

Anonymous said...

The coronation street calendar is mind boggling. Who could possibly have thought that would be a seller.

Betty M said...

Not really intending to be anonymous above.

groseilleamaquereau said...

That Barnes Raft of the Medusa essay is an amazing piece of writing. Thanks for drawing my attention to a whole book of such essays!

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the fact that you go quiet when the bad stuff happens - thank you. The calendars are ...I'm speechless, from Breughel to boobs, really, it's too much... Rachel

Patience_Crabstick said...

I have to say, I think the erotic Advent calendar is clever. I would love to give it as a joke gift to someone, if only I knew someone suitable.

cruella said...

Wholly agree on Advent and the absolut trembling joy of expectation and general loveliness that is December (even if one is going to Thailand).

My favourite advent hymn is by Swedish Composer Otto Olsson, here in a rather good version (organ! brass section!) by one of the countless choirs in Stockholm. In Swedish obviously but you know the story (rejoice, Hosiannah):

Tears welling at the very opening, always.

frau antje said...

45% Hanging out of skylight trying to muck gutter with salad tong duct-taped to a broom handle, which immediately falls into the gutter, and has to be scooped out with another broom handle with duct tape, sticky side out, on the end of it.

55% Standing on eccentrically placed footstool.

When humans first started using tools, certainly no one ever envisioned it coming to this.

Jane in SF said...

CNN reporting raids in a town that I think is yours. Hope it's as far from you as possible.

Siobhan Morton said...

I didn't know they still made them without chocolate

driftwood said...

good grief I'd forgotten about Alligator. What a place that was..........

Christina said...

Browsing for advent calendars on Amazon seems like a worthwhile activity for a Friday night. Can't wait.

Waffle said...


Crazy Mom! said...

I love the Breughel. Because I am ACTUALLY Presbyterian. But it must include chocolate.

Mrs Tiggywinkle said...

I am totally with you on the advent calendar front - chocolate ones not allowed to darken my door and lamenting the lack of bible verses, but I do like mine to have a generous sprinkling of glitter, which I like to think Breughel would have used had it been available to him. x

Liz said...

Alligator is still there! Drove past yesterday for the first time in 30 years. What it is to be able to say in all honesty that one has done something for the first time in that long.

ellen kirkendall said...

No advent calendars at all please. Seems like such a waste of time and money. Please send a can if mixed nuts instead.

breakfastlady said...

So with you on the advent calendars and the whole Advent-for-heathens thing. I almost wept tears of Xmas joy when oldest child came out of his cello lesson clutching a copy of the Ukranian Bell Carol (which I didn't know was called that, but this: ). His orchestra will no doubt massacre it in a manner to do Herod proud but still. Mitteleuropean forests and sleigh bells and snow and everything. Thailand Shmailand.

breakfastlady said...

Oh, and also, this: . Possibly not presbyterian enough for you, and a snip at EIGHTEEN POUNDS but no chocolate, or genitalia, in sight. said...

HA ha. That one erotic is so funny as for me. That man with his look just made me laugh, and laugh a lot!

Waffle said...

Breakfast Lady - the Anthropologie one is delightful! WELL HUNTED. x