Sunday 8 June 2008

When presents go wrong

Today it is our 6th wedding anniversary. Six years ago today we were young, trim, not nearly as wrinkled and we had no idea that we'd be spending our future anniversary erecting a tent in the garden.

You see, I finally got my way. Along with a small teapot obsession, I've also had a bit of a hankering for a tent. I have this romantic notion that we'll go camping somewhere remote and uncrowded but that still has luxury loos and showers. We'll spend the afternoon collecting firewood before heading back to our tent which took mere minutes to erect. We'll then easily manage to get a roaring fire on the go, before grilling some fat sausages and toasting marshmallows. In my perfect camping dream, we'd actually be 'glamping' (a term I recently learned from an article in the Telegraph). There'd be plenty of retro bunting, the tent would be floral and we'd have a pale pink BBQ bucket.

However, apparently 'glamping' is out and 'tramping' is in. It's no longer cool to look good camping. It's all about going back to basics. Which is good, because that's all I was allowed to buy. But I don't care. We are now the proud owners of a tent, inflatable mattresses, sleeping bags, two kids collapsible chairs and a cooking set. I see a night in a field coming up.

But I digress. The tent was not my anniversary gift. That was a present to myself. A 6th wedding anniversary gift should either be iron or sugar according to the experts. My lovely husband, thoughtful as ever, got me the perfect gift (actually gifts). A lovely new pair of floral wellies (the tenuous link to iron here being that Wellington boots are named after the Duke of Wellington who was apparently known as 'The Iron Duke' - so I actually got a free history lesson thrown in too). But he didn't stop there. Recognising my teapot obsession, the dear man went and bought me a teapot, sugar bowl and milk jug - lovely Emma Bridgewater stuff with pink hearts on it. The sugar bowl was the nod to the anniversary tradition. Really, the perfect gift.

And then there was the gift I got for him. Buying gifts for a man is always difficult, particularly for a man on a slimming obsession so getting anything sugar related was out. I spent days hunting out iron-related gifts. I considered a day at a golf driving range (iron clubs) but figured he was over that and didn't need to be reminded that he never gets to use his golf clubs. I considered a CD by Iron Maiden, but again, he's not a fan. Thank God. I did consider entering him into an Iron Man competition given his new penchant for exercise but I don't fancy becoming a widow just yet.

So on deadline and having to make a decision, I relied on faithful old eBay and bought something that looked good in the picture - although it was still a slightly strange gift. It arrived and it was quite simply gipping. But I didn't have time to change it so had to present it this morning. I did warn him. A lot. Let's just say that a faux cast iron outdoor clock/barometer was never going to hit the gift bestseller lists.

His actual gift from me was years worth of dinner party joke-making at my expense. The clock is so bad he actually wants to keep it as a party piece. Sigh. I've emailed the eBay chap to see if he'll have it back, but I think he's going to say no. I mean why would anyone want it back??

Must go. We're playing a game of 'Pant heads' in which we all get to don a pair of the boys new Bob the Builder underpants on our heads. And I have to say, I've been wearing a pair while typing this and I'm getting a bit of a headache.

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