It’s only just December and already I’m in the grip of the seasonal sweat. It’s what happens when your already busy life gets an addition clutch of festive events for every person you live with and, strangely, it’s down to you to make them all happen. Ho ho ho hum.
Add to that that everyone everywhere wonders whether you’re organized or finished yet. Good grief, I haven’t even got around to the annual conclusion that I won’t be bothering to start.
I’ve hardly even had any time to get properly cross about anything. Instead here’s a few choice thoughts:
Gin – and the increasingly large pile of bollocks that’s being talked about it.
Not, for a minute, should you think that I don’t like a nice gin and tonic, but, really, it seems like every opportunist distiller is leaping onto the botanicals bandwagon. They are all trying to persuade us that the only way to consume their extravagantly over-priced product is in a Royal Dalton tea cup from 1953 and with a lovingly caressed vanilla pod on the side.
Really. We do not need this bollocks. Gin is the new cupcake. Something that marketers see that women (sadly it is we who have fallen for this) will pay through the nose for the beautiful bottles and made-up crap that is cult gin.
For example, the bottle for an exclusive (read: eyewateringly dear) Highland brand is designed to look like the peaty loch water itself and is made from local, picked-at-dawn-on-a-Tuesday juniper berries. It comes with instructions that it should be served neat with a chunk of kiwi fruit. Handpicked highland kiwi fruit, presumably.
Obviously, if you mix paint-stripper with bargain label diet tonic it’ll not be as nice as, well, something nicer, but it’ll still work. And, on that point, I’d defy anyone after a couple of large ones to know whether or not their juniper berries were carried down the mountain on the back of a West Highland terrier or not.
Going outdoors with the Gore-Tex cartel
The other thing that’s annoying me – when I’ve got a moment to be annoyed in – is outdoor gear.
I do understand (once again) (lest you think it’s just parsimony) that you need to spend a bit of money to get some kit that does the job. And no one needs to be wet or cold, unless it’s a lifestyle choice, in which case, crack on.
So it was with an increasingly sinking heart that I noticed that JD Sports has bought Go Outdoors, which means that it now owns Tiso, Blacks and Millets.
It’s already difficult enough to buy outdoor stuff without breaking the bank (Trespass and Decathlon, excepted) and this won’t help. This is particularly pertinent to those of us with kids going through the laudable Duke of Edinburgh scheme who – in the month before Christmas – paid for them to join and then endured a talk during which the expected spend on gear was laid out. They need quality gear, but they’re only going to grow out of all from one training walk to the next. What about a gear library? Rent-a-coat or something. Sigh.
Elsewhere I’ve been equally irritated by roofers who can’t find the leak, dishwasher retailers who can’t deliver this week and days that are going by too quickly for me to keep up.