I had a nightmare last night. It was Christmas Eve 1995 and I hadn’t bought many presents because I’d been too busy doing man-things like fitting Recaro seats in my Sierra Cosworth. Well, alright, it wasn’t really a Cosworth but it looked like one. Look, it’s what we did before the internet got big, okay?
I’d had my Christmas bonus and being the all-round decent chap that I am I went into town with a plan. Everything I needed to buy I could get at Marble Arch Marks and Spencer.
So that’s –
Marble Arch M&S
It was like fighting for the last loaf in a Moscow bakery during the Cold War. Grannies had turned into rabid pit bulls over scented candles.
I was elbowed, kicked and slashed at more than I was in the ‘experimental’ boys v girls hockey match we had once at school.
Only once, because the boys’ suffering came to one cracked rib, one broken wrist, a cauliflower ear, two nosebleeds (one a broken nose) and a multitude of bruises and stud scrapes. Those girls were brutal but, because we were 14 and all had raging hormones, we were careful not to hurt any of them. They completely took advantage.
After that Christmas Eve with M&S I made sure that all my Christmas shopping was done early.
Now, of course, we can all beat the crowds by shopping online, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to feature some of the more obscure things we have in the shop. With a prediction of -16C from the Met Office you should seriously consider some of them as totally practical presents that will be appreciated time and again.
First up, winter is always pasty season as far as I’m concerned and it’s also a good idea to wrap up warm with a hoodie, so what better way of showing your pasty appreciation while keeping warm than the Cornish Pasty Appreciation Society Hoodie? Double fabric hood and ribbed cuffs ensure draught-free warmth and insulation. It’s got to be a winner.
Next, Hot Sox! These are a hybrid sock/slipper made with rosemary scented cotton. All you need to do for instant warm feet is give them a quick blast in the microwave. The scent of rosemary will relax you as your chilly tootsies get nice and toasty.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed that supermarkets are getting colder to walk around. Sometimes I think the only heat sources are the lights and chillers. The last couple of winters I’ve been keeping my gloves on while shopping, but there’s a problem with that if you only want a few things because self-checkouts need you to touch the screen. Well, although they’re designed for smartphones, these iGloves are the answer because they have conductive material woven into the fingertips. Genius!
Over the years I’ve tried battery powered heat pads for my hands, but the batteries always die when you need them most (and I kept forgetting to switch them off). Now I use chemical warmers. The Mini Hot Water Bottle Hand Warmers are good for about 30 minutes and can be ‘reset’ for re-use by putting them in simmering water for a few minutes. I carry two pairs, which is plenty of heat for me to walk our dog without getting freezing fingers.
In the winter evenings, when it’s dark and cold outside and I want a bit of peace and quiet I sometimes opt for the cosy comfort of a Slanket. I know they’re neither trendy or stylish, but they’re really warm and cosy. I’m going to stop telling you about them because I can only do it by sounding like my granddad.
Finally, the irritating thing about winter is that it seems to be the time of year when draughts migrate to Britain to blow cold air under doors that fit perfectly well the rest of the time. In true patriotic fashion we have the Union Flag draught excluder to keep these foreign breezes out. Fitting it is a breeze (fnar fnar).
Be safe and keep warm