At Easter we made a trip to S's mum's place in Dumfrieshire, and were joined by my old friend L and her family. One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to Cream o' Galloway. A dairy farm for generations, it has evolved into a very contemporary outfit with excellent environmental and animal welfare credentials. They draw masses of visitors for their two big attractions: an ice cream factory and a kids' adventure park. The latter is so good that B, after a blast round the pedal go-kart track, and in context of a conversation about his late grandfather, declared "I'd like my ashes scattered at Cream o'Galloway".
It was a big highlight of the holiday for both families, so I was delighted when L turned up to see us some months later, holding an earthenware cream pot from Cream o' Galloway, presumably pre-war, which she'd happened upon at a car boot sale in Colchester.
S suggested it would be a handsome subject for our Christmas card, perhaps with the addition of some mistletoe.
This would have been tricky in October, but for the kindness of a chap called Simon at the English Mistletoe Company. The stuff doesn't normally go on sale till much later, so when I called the EMC to buy some, they told me none of it was ready; it was berryless. Excellently, though, when I explained what I was doing, Simon found their first couple of sprigs of mistletoe with berries on and posted them to me for the card.
I'm really happy with the card. I knew that some of the fine lettering wouldn't be legible, but I was determined to try to render it all, somehow, and I think a decent proportion of it comes out. The leaves are nicely shaped, and overall it has a subtly Christmassy and very two thousand and eleveny feel for me.