I have just started writing my magazine column for this month on the scintillating subject - 'Packaging.'
Now - the modus operandi of the magazine employing me as a columnist is to add a bit of humour to what could otherwise be construed as a bit of a...how shall I say?... 'dry' subject. So I got to thinking about the most entertaining packaging moments of my life. And here they are:
1) having a Queen bee arrive through the post when one of our hives needed re-queening. The postman said,'It says on the envelope there is a live bee in here.' I said,'Yes, there is.' He said,'Riiiight...' and beat a hasty retreat...
2)...and whilst on bee-related incidents: the time Andy and I transported our top bar hive seven miles up the road to its new home, full o' bees, in the back of our Picasso. We wrapped the top bar in a duvet cover and ourselves in our bee suits and drove very carefully at the crack of dawn. It was a packaging and transport triumph!! A nerve-wracking triumph, but a triumph nonetheless.
3)... And more bees: going to fetch our first ever bee nucleus from Gloucestershire. It was a long drive there and an even longer drive back, what with the volume of buzzing increasing in volume as the miles progressed. The bees were packed in what I considered to be an insubstantial polyurethane plastic box thing. It seemed bery flimsy at the time, but whilst I suppose bees are renowned for their industry and determination, they are not so fêted for their jail-breaking prowess based on muscle alone.
4) The time I left a friend's house one day and managed to accidentally kick over all six pints of milk that were still sitting on their doorstep. I was about 10 years old at the time. I genuinely did not see the milk bottles on the doorstep and once I'd kicked one, the others went down in one spectacularly messy milky skittles effect. I was mortified! I was profusely apologetic. I got on my bicycle and rode to the village shop to buy two pints of milk (it was all I could fit in my bag) with my own pocket money, to serve as an apologetic replacement. Of course, nowadays most milk comes packaged in shatter-free plastic and the milkman is a rare sight (well, in these parts he is). And come to think about it now - what kind of person leaves their 6 pints of milk sitting on the doorstep until the middle of the afternoon? And who gets through 6 pints of milk in one day?? Sheesh!
5) The annual entertainment that is called 'How to Wrap Your Christmas Gifts With a Cat.' Not actually 'with' a cat. With the assistance of a cat. The ironic assistance. Because, as all cat people know, the moment you get out the sticky tape, scissors and 4 metres of roll wrap, your up-until-now absent kitty will materialise from nowhere and insist on 'helping.' Not.
6) And to continue the cat motif, there is always the entertainment of 'Cat In A Box.' Cats love empty boxes. No idea why. Andy the Vet says it is something to do with them wanting to feel safe and living their lives in 3-D. I think it's just them being awkward and also enjoying leaping out on unsuspecting passers-by and impaling their claws in unsuspecting legs.
7) I entertained myself last night by making a piece of my own packaging in the form of this rummage bag...
...as you can see, it is a reversible, across-the-body number in bright yellow and red. It is very roomy and lovely and I shall likely make a couple more as it only took a couple of hours to construct and I like it enormously!
8) The joy of receiving beautifully packaged internet purchases from independent craft people. I recently purchased an embroidered bee brooch. It arrived wrapped in soft tissue in a cute little box done up with rustic string. There was a lovely little business card and personal message inside. Such care had been taken with the packaging that unwrapping the brooch was a huge delight in itself. The same for the packaging of a pair of porcelain earrings I purchased last year. Personal and thoughtful. Made all the difference. Independent crafters know how to please their customers. They know packaging makes a statement about their product.
9) Shoe boxes. I LOVE SHOE BOXES! Shoe boxes are always recycled into something useful. I have recently started to découpage any shoe boxes I get to within an inch of their lives, to use as storage for all my sewing stuff. Sadly, I am not so keen on shoes. I buy maybe two or three pairs a year. But I always keep the boxes!
10) I can't think of a number 10. The cats are being useless with their suggestions which mostly involve fish, catnip and the delights of padding a sheepskin rug...
...and Andy is in the kitchen seeing if he can make 4 French sticks in two and a half hours like they did on 'Bake Off' last night. And Heather, recently returned from Edinburgh, is currently catching up on all the hours of sleep she has missed this last week. She bought me this...
It's not a tablet of butter, as it suggests on the packaging. It is fudge.