Here we are again, at yet another Christmas. I don’t know quite how this happens so quickly. It seems like only yesterday that I moved from the Flat but no, it’s three months ago. Why is it that time speeds up before Christmas but dawdles oh so slowly in January and February, just so that we can all really appreciate the cold and the dark and the miserableness of it all?


Well, it may be that the cold and the dark and stuff generally are not all bad. The Norwegian National Museum has recently placed a digital copy of its entire collection, some 400,000 items including Munch’s The Scream, in the Arctic World Archive (AWA) for posterity. The AWA is lodged deep in a coalmine in the permafrost of the Svalbard archipelago. Cue lots of puns on “keeping things on ice” and “no one can hear you scream…”


Notwithstanding the usefulness of cold storage, thankfully there’s some good news on shedding light and warmth in the darkest and coldest of places. The cost of solar energy has dropped 89% over the past 10 years. Clean energy has now passed its economic tipping point. And a very clever person on Ibiza is developing a biological battery that, being partially buried, can generate energy directly from the surrounding soil. Yay! Having said that, I will find it hard to give up a wood-burning stove so I am hopeful that someone somewhere will come up with a super super-clean version so that I can be warm and toasty without feeling guilty about killing the planet.


Sitting by a fire in my favourite comfy chair with a nice glass of red and good book is a little bit of heaven. This Christmas I plan to read John Gray’s Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Life because you know not that I am biased or anything, the Cat is the cleverest cat in the world and so must have some wisdom to impart. The Boyfriend unfailingly, and rather unkindly, corrects this to the cleverest cat in the room. I have no doubt Professor Gray will enlighten him… or perhaps I should leave that to Baba.


And don’t you just love it when your more crazy ideas are not so out there after all? It seems that Van Gogh intended his paintings of chairs as portraits of himself and his erstwhile friend Paul Gaugain, he of the slightly bilious yellow. Just goes to show, there is a chair, and a yellow, for everyone. Indeed, yellow is one of Pantone’s colours of the year for 2021, but it’s not without controversy. Needless to say, we’ll skate over the fact that Van Gogh cut off his own ear.


Dahlia Dark Chocolate, Midnight Blue & Black Cumin.

The Boyfriend is ecstatically relieved that there are plans afoot to save coffee from climate change; I have fallen for the fabulously colourful pots of Arjan Van Dal; this wonderful project in the southwest of France is my favourite restoration of the moment. Oh, and I have ended with a burst of creativity after being in the doldrums for much of this mad year. The Dahlia cushions are now live and lots of other designs are in sampling. Phew!


Of course, all my achievements, mostly small and occasionally big, of this strange year would not have been possible with out the help and support of the wonderful Duncan, resident designer at William Clarke & Sons, my family and friends and those kind enough to take the time to comment on my work. I am hugely grateful to you all.


And heartfelt thanks to the Boyfriend… for his unstinting support and encouragement, his patience and understanding, not to mention his exemplary stoicism. Thank you J.


Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and here’s to better things in 2021.

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