Life For some reason, Christmas shopping has been quite hard this year. I set myself the task of looking for new and unusual things but then couldn't decide what that actually meant. Yesterday, in Chester, I think I had a breakthrough. This town which has layers of history features lots of small independent shops which tend to be missing from the bigger cities of late and consequently have gifts and products you can't find anywhere else. So I was able to make some presents look like a few more presents.

I also fell in love with The Arc a contemporary craft shop, just up a hill, off the main road, with its wood panelling and hand made pottery and glass. It's the kind of shop you can look about for hours feeling very self concious because you can't afford anything. Looking into the eyes of the impossibly beautiful owner I think I was her first customer in hours so I just had to buy a card at least. My clowning about with my train ticket cheered her up for a few moments I think (but I'm probably over selling myself).

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