Sunday, 8 November 2015


Yesterday they switched on the Christmas lights in Manchester. Huge celebrations and a big party took place around the town hall. How splendid! This was yesterday, NOVEMBER 7th!!!! I read somewhere that the huge Christmas tree had arrived in New York ready to be erected outside the Rockefeller centre but they don't light it up until December 2nd. Mind you, they have to get Thanksgiving out of the way first otherwise they too might have got started on Christmas already.  

The weekend papers are full of it as well: helpful suggestions for Christmas menus, gift ideas, hints in how to look sparkly for the parties you will inevitably be going to. Here's one idea: Rent, don't buy. For £130 a month you can hire a designer handbag, a Chanel or something similar! Personally, I am not impressed by designer handbags. It's just another form of showing off. And for £130 I would want something to keep, not something I would have to hand back. I'm sure Chanel make enough money without my giving them some more just to be allowed to advertise their name! 

While I'm on the subject of things I don't see the point of paying for, what about jeans and leggings with holes in? "Distressed", I believe they call this. Why pay for something that looks as though is ready for the ragbag? And I just saw a skirt on sale for £185. It is described as a "frayed skirt". In other words, the top of the waistband is not properly finished and is fraying. The same applies to the hem. And it has coloured patches stitched onto it. This is supposed to be "dressed-up denim". Really? I fear I am getting too old and sensible for such things. There's a bit of me that thinks about the washing. Surely such an unfinished garment would begin to unravel in the washing machine! 

Did you know that the writer Doris Lessing reportedly had a theory that spiders must once have been as big as dinosaurs. This is how she explained our fear of them. Maybe evolution is working towards returning them to their former hugeness. This would explain some of the giant specimens around at present. 

I read something this morning that said that the average woman uses 12 toiletries per morning. So I thought about it and did a little count and came up with close to half a dozen. Shower gel, body lotion, face creams and so on. If I wash my hair, that adds a couple more - shampoo and conditioner - and maybe some more on top of that if I use an anti-frizz serum before I dry my hair! And then there is perfume. Does that count? I thought the writer was exaggerating but no, probably not. There are women who use very little. I once had a student who never used shampoo or conditioner. She simply rinsed her hair in the shower and that was that. And her hair always looked beautiful! She was on a ecological mission to use as few beauty products as possible. Now, if there are women like her using next to nothing, then some women must really go over the top to reach an average of twelve. 

I never knew that walking round a city was a 'fitness trend' but apparently this is the case. It started in the USA and they call it urban hiking, based on the idea that it can be as exciting and as strenuous to walk around a city as to go for walk through hills and mountains. One hiker plotted a route around San Francisco, a seven-day, 110 mile route that connected all of the city's 600 outdoor stairways, 42 hills and 5,000+ feet of climbing. Phew! Someone else spent six days hiking 200 miles and 300 staircases around Los Angeles. Once again, phew! And now there are companies marketing organised hikes around cities in the UK. 

Now, for years Phil and I have explored on foot cities that we have visited throughout Europe. We refer to it as "walking the walk" and have long maintained that the only way to get to know and appreciate a city is to walk it thoroughly. 

 All unwittingly we were trend setters!

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