Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Art of Courting

What does a woman want when she's being wooed?

It's a good question, and one that has caused many a male to furrow his eyebrows.

This week I was fortunate enough to walk the lake edge of Stourhead Estate in Somerset, England. Think bodices, pantaloons, top hats and parasols. Ancient woodlands flow up and over hills, temples worshipping Roman deities provide discreet alcoves, a boathouse must have stored vessels at one stage to engage in water's a place where the imagination comes alive and you can picture young couples conversing, strolling, admiring the sights as they wandered the winding path.

Somewhere in between the Pantheon and the Temple of Apollo I said out loud, "Imagine being courted here!" And it got me thinking.

What does a woman want? Well, I can't answer that. Sorry. Every woman's different and it would be unfair of me to say they all want bunches of wild flowers or blocks of Swiss chocolate.

However, I'm of the opinion that being wooed has a wow factor. Maybe those Victorians knew what they were doing in The Art of Courting with their hand-written poetry, the deliciousness of not daring (or being able) to touch and come on ladies, how many of us haven't looked at Mr Darcy in his tight pants complimented by tailored waistcoat and thought: [parental guidance recommended].

Saturday, November 13, 2010

If you could be a Christmas decoration, what would you be?

Garrison Keillor once wrote: A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.

Sitting at airports, waiting to board, gives a traveller time to muse about things. Bristol airport was where it happened. The thought: 'If you could be a Christmas decoration, what would you be?'

Now, this might seem a bit odd but sometimes, especially getting older, we need to release some imaginative juices and tap into a journey that may just teach us something in the process. you consider yourself something obsolete, stuck at the back of the tree where no one sees? Or perhaps you prefer being the star attraction or a snug length of tinsel nestled in pine needles...

This is how I see things. A particlular decoration would have come to mind. For me it's a set of brass bells which my sister now has. They belonged to my mother's side of the family but are a mystery, their origin forgotten. At one time they were hung by red velvet ribbon. I like them because of their mystery, their sound (they still sing) and red velvet seems a bit royal and sexy. Heck, I can relate to that.

But how about that angel, gazing from on high with her gauze wings, wired limbs and sweetly stitched smile? (Sorry guys but I've honestly never seen a male angel at the top of an evergreen.) Angels are something other-worldly, Heaven sent perhaps to watch over Christ-mas proceedings. To be honest, I've always enjoyed a star at tree's top; a guiding light, wishful thought, conveyor of hope.

What about Christmas baubles? Now those globes have history. First produced in Germany, on sale since the mid-1800s, they were originally glass spheres linked like a chain which hung from branch to branch. Now they come in all colours of the rainbow and are more likely to be found as a plastic six-pack with fake frosty covering. There are, however, those that are unique, a one-off never to be repeated - simply put: stunning.

How about a box of peppermint striped sticks? Something everyone eyes up, waiting for the go-ahead to partake in. Candy canes are special, a treat that only comes around once a year. Their presence is anticipated and that first taste always delights the senses.

What about frilly tinsel or flashing lights circling up in an on-going hug? They aid other decorations by bulking up bare branches - a helpmate creating festive cheer or a beacon for gifts assembled underneath.

So what are you?

The one with a bit of mystery? The type who lights the way or is unique? Perhaps, simply put, you're stunning. Or maybe you're the person who's a one-a-year highlight but time spent in your presence is worth the wait. Could be you're an assister; in the right place at the right time with arms open wide.

Whatever you think you are, remember we go through this time of the year together. For the sake of the decorations (and all their hidden meaning) let's make it a great one.