Saturday 22 December 2012

A glass act

Blistering day today, perfect weather for the 25th - but what remains of Cyclone Evan is limping its way towards us, just in time to put a dampener on plans for outdoor Christmas dinners and beach barbecues of the sort that we Kiwis do so love to astonish our northern hemisphere friends with stories of, but actually hardly ever get to experience, since it usually turns out to be a dampish, greyish sort of day. And will be again this year, we're promised. Never mind.

The usual unfathomable year-end urge to tidy and sort has been upon me today, and I've cleared the drifts of papers that have piled up on my desk - receipts, boarding cards, itineraries, press kits, business cards, plus little bottles of aeroplane moisturisers, CDs of images, gift calendars and fancy soaps (who uses bars of soap these days?) and a wee bag of forgotten Portuguese biscuits that were hackingly dry and horrible by now, and a bar of camel milk chocolate from Dubai that was surprisingly nice. It was a rather boring waste of glorious weather, but worthy; a newer and more enjoyable seasonal tradition, however, is to fill with scented Christmas lilies the Waterford vase that I won this year in the Cathay Pacific Travel Awards for a story about - how fitting - Waterford the city.

The original glass-blowing factory, established there in 1783, was closed in 2009, but they reopened a smaller one for tourists to visit after lots of protests. Of course, as usual, we didn't have time to do that tour - but we did have a peep into a different craft glass workshop where a blower was at work. It's a fascinating process, even making something much simpler than my lovely (and extraordinarily heavy: 2.5kg) vase - so it took all my attention and it's only looking at the photo now that I see perhaps I've inadvertently papped an unofficial visit by Prince Charles.

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