Wednesday 23 December

I admit it: I colour my hair. So today was the day to brighten up for Christmas. People with reddish hair are quite fortunate, in that they tend not to go grey very quickly but merely darker. I have managed to cover the salt and peppery look and am now uniformly coppery. Even though hardly anyone will see me, it makes me feel better. For the same reason that on Christmas Day I will wear a dress and spray on plenty of perfume.

We ventured out for a walk at Gatton but it was incredibly muddy and we did not go very far. There is a coffee kiosk there but the queue was so long that we did not wait. Not the best expedition. But there is always something to look at. I was very taken with this huge bracket fungus:

and also the brilliant green of this moss.

It was like emerald velvet. I felt like going to stroke it.

This afternoon I faced more traditional tasks. I put icing on the Christmas cake and made some mince pies. I confess to being a dreadful slut and buying ready made, ready rolled pastry. My mother would have been horrified. The mincemeat is however home made, though not by me. In my defence, I have made mincemeat in the past. So we are now ready for the invisible visitors. We have not got an excess of food. The Christmas cake will last till the end of January when it can be reinvented as Rod’s birthday cake.

I discovered that National Trust gardens remain open, though you have to book a parking place in advance. I hope to visit Standen next week. In theory the house is also open for a limited number of visitors. They always do a wonderful Christmas display, “dressing” the house in for example a 1930’s style Christmas, so I hope we do get to see that.

And finally……………why can’t Boris Johnson make his Christmas cake till the last minute? Because he doesn’t know how many tiers it should have.

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