To Christmas Tree or not to Christmas Tree…

It’s that time of year again when I hoist myself into the loft and scrabble around for the Christmas decorations. I don’t like the dust, the dead wasps or the cobwebs but it’s all worth it for the wonder of flipping open the old cardboard box and seeing again the motley collection of decorations. 

I love them all: the Fimo snowmen the boys made at junior school, all red and green and with their badly-glued glitter flaking into the tissue paper; the flimsy gold spheres I’ve hoarded since the 70s with their memories of mum and dad; the glorious luxury of my sister’s annual gift of Liberty baubles in glowing colours.

Each one evokes a precious memory and I wouldn’t swap them for the most fabulously fashionable display in Fortnums.   

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Strawberry Fields .... Forever

Before the Beatles put the catchy song into everyone’s head whenever the word ‘strawberry’ is mentioned, the fragrant fruit had many and varied meanings.  

The Romans dedicated them to Venus, goddess of love because of their heart shape and red colour (and some say, because they resemble a beautiful woman’s curvaceous behind…). 

In Medieval churches they were carved into the tops of pillars to symbolise perfection and righteousness. 

And in Bavaria, it was the custom to tie baskets of wild strawberries to the horns of cows as an offering to the elves, who are said to be passionately fond of the fruit.  All things to all people then.

Me I just love the taste.

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Today is all about trees.

They’ve been quietly green for months now and fading into the background. But overnight there’s a gold tinge to the leaves of the maple on my regular dog walk that refuses to be ignored. 

The oak over the road is peppered with browning acorns, the tops of the plum trees are vibrant orange and the acer in the pot is glowing almost yellow as it puts on its late summer plumage.

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Geometric patterns

Number 3 in our pattern series is geometrics: “characterized by or decorated with regular lines or shapes”.

You can see why geometrics might be pleasing: think of farmers’ fields, the branching leaves of a tree in summer, honeycombs, the spirals of a sunflower, the print on a leopard’s skin …

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I love paisley on all sorts of levels.  It’s a curious thing.

The basic motif or buteh comes from Persia but the name comes from Scotland. 

The poshest goods have it as a pattern and yet it’s often been used as a symbol of decadence and rebellion by everyone from Oscar Wilde to John Lennon, who had his Rolls Royce painted in bright yellow and paisley. 

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Grey is evergreen.

I don’t know about you but I’m feeling a little dazzled and sun-blind after what’s been the brightest summer in years.  As the calendar swings round again to back to school I’ve been seeing the beauties of cloudy skies as I shop for sixth form suits for my boys. 

All of which has led me to contemplate the subtle beauties of grey.

Being half-way between black and white, grey is described a colour "without color.” Though of course anyone with an eye can see there are infinite different shades of grey, its relative neutrality makes it a perfect partner for so many other colours. 

It can play a support role without pushiness.

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