I love giving and receiving presents – I really do. I love the process of thinking about what to get someone, then researching, then selecting, then buying and then getting it wrapped perfectly. The “giving” is important too; the situation and the delivery – and often this is actually adds much more to the “sense of occasion” than the gift itself.
I love receiving presents too, but I am told that I am very difficult to buy presents for – mostly for the same reasons that I have described above: it’s all in the thought process and the delivery… as an example; my most treasured presents received over the last couple of years have been a pack of pea seeds, delivered under a cosy blanket on the roof terrace at The Boundary and a beautifully understated, ribbon bound cardboard box containing lots of little gifts including a 3D paper greeting card received while at afternoon tea at Langhams. Simple but meaningful things are what it is all about – the knowledge that someone has gone to all that extra effort to think of something special just for me, and that they understand what makes me tick – that inspires and challenges me!
It was my birthday recently and for one reason or another it wasn’t one to remember; however a couple of days later I did belatedly receive another truly amazing present…
Wrapped beautifully and with the all important silk bow – and I cannot begin to tell you how much I am obsessed with bows – I just love them! I cannot see one without wanting to pull on it; wherever or on whoever it might be situated… I even love the little fake bows they use as decorative flourishes on lingerie; but a real silk ribbon bow has surely got to be one of the biggest pleasures in life? To look at (very pretty) or to slowly pull so that it pops! open – the feeling of anticipation as to what might be revealed beneath such a fascinating fastening is sometimes a little overwhelming!
I did carefully open the present when I was given it – so that I could properly appreciate the gift itself (and boy what a great gift it was too!) – but I then dutifully rewrapped it, tying the bow carefully so that I might marvel at its beauty for a few days longer until I could have the pleasure all over again of slowly undressing it…
The present itself? Harold McGee’s “on Food & Cooking: an encylopedia of kitchen science, history and culture”. Heston Blumenthal’s favourite book and one that he is regularly seen referring to in his various TV programmes.
But I bet Heston’s copy doesn’t have a beautiful inscription on the inside front cover, in the neatest and prettiest hand writing ever… what it says? Well I think I’ll keep that to myself!