The following lists, of presents I wouldn’t mind getting or giving, fell out of a filing cabinet clearance and will do as a starter for this file …
* The Beep Egg – egg timer you keep with your eggs, so it goes in the water at the same temperature – from – http://www.hawkin.com/ (£12.99 in april 2010).
* Walking umbrella: the Oxford Walking Stick – from brolliesgalore.co.uk (£40 at the time of the note).
* Electronic tagging kit for keys, wallet, and more – from loc8tor.co.uk (was £45). Or Maplins do a less sophisticated key-ring bleeper for two or three quid, according to Gdn Mag, Feb 08.
* K969 Super Gaffer Tape, as used by Aussie roadies – from http://www.tenacioustapes.com.au/
* Grivel Spiders: strap-on yomping spikes – from grivel.com (were £20).
* Acoustic Solutions karaoke machine, AS344, recommended by London Community Gospel Choir in test of a range, Observer, 16.12.7 (was £30).
* Swedish steel cut-throat razor, by Dovo, fm grooming-health.com/ (was £38).
* The Overboard Dry Tube: fully waterproof kit bag: Firebox.com ( £19.95 in Jan 08).
* Senz Stealth: windproof umbrella: Firebox.com (£30 in Jan 08).
* Sustainable caviar, Sturia fm Aquitaine, at £50 a tin fm http://www.kaviar.com or kingscaviar.co.uk or harrods or fortnum & mason.
* Robomop automatic hard-floor cleaner, from about £30.
* Vouchers for research at ancestry.co.uk/
* Terrarium – instructions for making by Elspeth Thompson in Sun. Telegraph 12/11/06 at
* Pocket-knife sharpener (or possibly pocket knife-sharpener), recommended in Guardian Mag., 27/5/6, from bladetech.co.uk (£10 plus post at the time).
* Electric potato peeler, as recommended by Ann Widdecombe in Sunday Telegraph, 13/8/06: £34.95 at the time from scottsofstow.co.uk
* Wooden coat hangers at £19.99 for 30 (2006) from coopersofstortford.co.uk/
* Paintbrush cleaner – was £19.99 from brushdoctor.co.uk/
* Pusser’s rum: old-fashioned Navy rum, 54.5% proof – check outlets via pussers.com – about £24 a bottle
* Wind-up charger – gives your phone 8 minutes of talk time in return for 3 minutes of winding: £5.99 when seen at iwantoneofthose.com/
* The Gorillapod: adaptable camera tripod.
* Classyish Xmas-tree baubles at bombki.co.uk/
* Stichelton is unpasteurised Stilton – mail orders fm nealsyarddairy.co.uk – upwards of £21 a kilo.
* Giant cable ties from greenjem.co.uk/
* Stewarts Spider: classic fly-fishing lure.
Editor of Gdn Mag’s Children’s Notebook, Daisy Bridgewater, 18.5.13, says in a column on war games: “A six-month subscription to Commando has possibly been the most successful present ever. It costs £52 with four comics being delivered every fortnight (commandocomics.com).”
Other present ideas …
Awfully Posh Anglesey Sea Salt Pork Crackling: from Free From aisle at Waitrose or awfullyposhsnacks.com
hair oil – moroccan oil treatment, percy and reed no-oil oil from harveynichols.com
junk at cybergrot.com
food hampers from richardsonofwhitehaven.co.uk
chess course from http://chess-teacher.com/selfteacher/buy/
japanese razor hoe from burgonandball
my year in a greek garden – jane shaw
national trust manual o housekeeping
collapsible buckets at funkyleisure.co.uk
swingball – all-surface pro swingball fm amazon
devon cream tea from delimann.co.uk
italian lardo (cured fat) etc from http://www.vallebona.co.uk
shirts from hawaiian-shirt-shop.co.uk
posh socks from http://www.pantherella.co.uk/
knives from trevor ablett at sheffield-made.com
Swiss music boxes from reuge.com
Bagatelle, etc, in hardwood and ivory, plus trad cards and board games from jaques.co.uk
Paints, crayons, etc from artdiscount.com
Wooden swords etc from historictoys.co.uk
Tin toys, “unsafe for children”, from toypost.co.uk
Electric paintbrush-cleaner, around £20, from brushdoctor.co.uk
Gyroscope.com for planes, yo-yos, etc
portable bbq which rolls up into a tube – the grilliput from iwantoneofthose.com
Easy Raker – mortar removing bit fm machinemart
poshest printed stationery fm leemingbrothers.co.uk
Online food suppliers rec by Rebecca Armstrong, Inde, 6.9.07 …
1) Barcelona-based company stocks items you can’t find outside the Iberian peninsula – http://www.delinostrum.com/
2) Edinburgh deli championed by the likes of Rick Stein and Antonio Carluccio – http://www.valvonacrolla.co.uk/
3) The Queen’s appointed grocer – http://www.partridges.co.uk/
4) Pies, poultry, pastries, preserves and puddings from Foreman and Field, a mail-order company that specialises in fresh, British produce from small, independent producers – http://www.foremanandfield.com/
5) The best things about Fortnum’s website are the chocolates and “curiosities” – http://www.fortnumandmason.com/
6) Francophile gourmets don’t have to do the ferry-run – http://www.frenchgourmetstore.com/
7) Cheese club memberships and cheese by post – http://www.nealsyarddairy.co.uk/
8) Umbrella website for a broad range of independent luxury food producers – http://www.foodfullstop.com/
9) Italian food – http://www.portobellofood.com/
10) Poshest of all farm shops – chickens fed on clover and grain, apricot from Nantes and chutneys made in the store’s own kitchen – http://www.daylesfordorganic.com/
Alan Titchmarsh, Sun Tel, 30.6.13:
My thanks to the many readers who responded to my quest for the perfect fountain pen. It is, above all, heartening to know that I am not on my own in championing this instrument of communication, even if, on occasion, such determination drives me nuts. I shall be trying out all your recommendations – from the reasonably priced Lamy Safari pen, which received the most recommendations, to the Parker 51 and the Parker 17, the Sheaffer and the Cross. I am also intrigued by the Sailor pens invented by Nobuyoshi Nagahara, not least because they were recommended by James Cave, a GP with the best doctor’s handwriting I have ever seen.