what I really, really want….


Minefields and Christmas gift buying may not be an ideal comparison but the latter is without doubt an area through which one must step with extreme care, if only hypothetically. Back in the mists of time I went through a period of buying jewellery for Jenny, as Christmas gifts, from Butler & Wilson, which at the time seemed like a fail safe option; yet over those years I became accustomed to her face…a face displaying incredulity at her husband’s inability to select a suitable bauble from an Aladdin’s cave of jeweled treasure. I have no doubt that, as I left the shop bearing my Christmas purchase, the vendeuse was already selecting something that Jenny would really like, as she knew that she’d be popping in for her usual post Yuletide visit to exchange the inanity that I had carefully selected.  When it comes to gifts let me be clear, I absolutely do not want a zigazig but, on reflection, I can see the thought process involved in choosing myrrh as a gift. Leaving the shopping to the last minute and thinking to oneself ” Myrrh?…no one’s going to think of myrrh..big lump of myrrh, that’s me”. It’s like buying a durian for someone who was expecting a football… disappointing and smelling like shit. Now is the moment for me to say something encouraging to myrrh:” I don’t know if you smell like a sewer but, if not, I have a feeling you’ll be an acquired taste”. I once read about a drug, palfium by name, which was described as very painful to inhale, bringing on extreme nausea and vomiting which was similarly described, by an acquaintance with an amateur interest in narcotics, as an acquired taste. This suggests to me that the acquisition of that taste would entail being mad or not having a nose. Happily myrrh and palfium are not contiguous in the Pharmacopeia so our wise man of yore was not tempted to traffic drugs into the quiet hamlet of Nazareth and instead settled for the least favourite Christmas present of all time. The comfort in this parable comes with the knowledge that Balthazar, the least capable Christmas shopper in history, has not gone down as a complete fuckwit but, wait for it, as a Wise Man. With this heritage and template for wisdom there is no surprise that Donald is President elect or that Britain has decided to be an American aircraft carrier. On waking, this December morning, the temperature in our house gave me a close approximation of how it would feel to be away in a manger and I can tell you now that I will be extremely fucked off if somebody knocks on the door offering me myrrh…unless they have stutter.

About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2016, Art photography, Christmas, Digital photography, Expectation, Gold, Humour, Myrrh, Photography, Presents, Shopping, Three Wise Men, Uncategorized, Writing, Xmas Presents and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to what I really, really want….

  1. peteramskillsculpture says:

    If it was physically possible to laugh my tits off I’d have my man boobs on my knees right now…

  2. Mad Dog says:

    I’m the one who’d be delighted with a durian instead of a football 😉

  3. Sheer brilliance Mr Stowell!

  4. jmcheney says:

    “Myrrh is applied directly to the mouth for soreness and swelling, inflamed gums (gingivitis), loose teeth, canker sores, bad breath, and chapped lips. It is also used topically for hemorrhoids, bedsores, wounds, abrasions, and boils. In foods and beverages, myrrh is used as a flavoring component.” (No mention of stammer relief, but guess it beats a lump of coal.)

  5. Francesca says:

    That new born babe in the manger would not have much use for Myrhh for’ soreness and swelling, inflamed gums (gingivitis), loose teeth, canker sores, bad breath, and chapped lips. It is also used topically for hemorrhoids, bedsores, wounds, abrasions, and boils’, which still brings Balthazar’s wisdom into question, though Joseph may have been in need of the stuff, after wandering through the desert with that his teenage consort who claimed to have been impregnated by a ghost,
    A wonderful December message, Roger, and one worthy of slipping inside of a Christmas Bon Bon.

  6. ardysez says:

    Much preferred read to most of the claptrap around the place this time of year 🙂 Thank you.

  7. lulu says:

    Oh Roger, you do come up with some good stuff!

  8. Pingback: Tradition and Change. Rewriting Christmas. – ALMOST ITALIAN

  9. Glad to have found your blog this morning. Hope you have had a great Christmas in the Vendee, just up the road from us really!

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