Can you remember the day when you found out that life was, occasionally, going to be really really disappointing?
I can't myself remember the exact day I realised that life was going to be disappointing. I've had so many disappointing days that they all merge into one and I can't remember which one came first.
Maybe it was the day I realised that...
- however hard I diet, my hands are always going to be a little bit fat
- clothes shops do a thing where they send all their best stuff to be photographed by newspapers and magazines and then immediately sell out of whatever it is so that when you go to the shops SPECIFICALLY for it, there's not hide nor hair but you buy something anyway, therefore falling for their ruse like an idiot
- mouthwash is not a substitute for flossing
- popstars are now all younger than me
- I am never going to be "sporty"
- I am never going to be good at maths
- that really really really amazing pair of boots will never change my life. But I will buy them anyway
- freelancing is much harder than it sounds
- Sex and the City 2 was a simple betrayal of my long-standing support of what is generally considered to be a ridiculous television programme
- you can't force people to dump boy/girlfriends you don't like, just by shouting
- tattoos don't come off that easily
- nail varnish doesn't really suit me
- neither do pastel colours
- or lipstick
- if you go to Art 4 Fun in West Hampstead on a Wednesday, because you want to make a mug for your friend Stefanie's birthday party on Saturday, you can't, because it takes 7 days to glaze and fire. And then you have to go home despite having put £4 in the parking meter
Those are some disappointments you can't do much about. But you can limit your disappointment at Christmas by ordering stuff in advance. Because even in this day and age of plenty, stuff runs out.
I used to be confused by ordering Christmas things in advance. Why would you do that? Why would you want a turkey or a cheese sitting around in your house for a whole month? But then I realised that the idea is to ring up or go online - like TODAY, yeah people? - and either order something to be delivered when you need it, or put your name down for something to be collected.
Then on the 23rd December you can smugly take delivery of your giant Ocado order, or on the 24th December you can sweep in to a butcher, barge to the head of the queue, greet the man behind the counter by his first name, take in both hands the last goose in North West London and then sweep out again and get in your car that you've double-parked outside with the hazard lights on.
So here are my recommendations for best suppliers. These are all except one, I'm afraid, London-based because I don't know any different, but if you don't live in London and know of a good supplier, let me know and I'll add it to the list. Or if you live in London and think I've missed something out, let me know.
All of these people are very nice. If you've never bought something from a specialised supplier and are a bit nervous about it, don't be. Just ring up and say "I've got 10 people coming for lunch on Christmas Day. Can you put aside a turkey that'll do all of them?"
And they'll say "Yes. That'll be £500 please."
It'll be more like £750.
For all meat, but not poultry, get in touch with the one and only Ginger Pig in Marylebone: http://www.thegingerpig.co.uk/
For meat AND poultry, pay a visit to Frank Godfrey, in Highbury: http://www.fgodfrey.co.uk/
Straddling both Marylebone and Highbury is the mighty La Fromagerie, for all your cheesy needs. Although note that La Fromag specialises in French and world cheese, so if you're looking for a Cropwell Bishop they probably won't have it. Not cheap: http://www.lafromagerie.co.uk/
For smoked salmon, go to Panzers in St John's Wood. They do two sorts - wild and farmed. The wild smoked salmon is amazing but just, like, vomitingly expensive and none of your family will really appreciate it unless you are Jewish, so just go for the farmed stuff. Perfectly ethically sound, exquisite and half the price. http://www.panzers.co.uk/
And now for my one out-of -town rec, my friend Becky B says that this year she's getting some spicy boar cocktail sausages from Sillfield Farm - http://www.sillfield.co.uk/ - I haven't tasted them yet because her party isn't until tonight but she assures me that they're jolly nice.