Visitors staying with us earlier in the month have gone home very happy after doing most of their Christmas shopping locally, an unexpected bonus for them on their Exmoor holiday. It started with a few stocking fillers as we browsed the charming gift shops in Dunster and Dulverton on a windy afternoon when it was too wet to walk on the moors. It developed into more serious gift-buying with some beautiful pieces of local art from galleries in Porlock and Lynton & Lynmouth, a gift voucher for a stay on Exmoor and a family trip on the West Somerset Railway.
Local cheeses, hand-made fudge, delicious chocolates, chutneys and whortleberry jam will, I’m sure, all be opened with delight on Christmas Day (although maybe the cheese needs to be double-wrapped!)
We found out early that this particular way of shopping really does provide some retail therapy. No crowds, space and time to browse and the opportunity to buy something different and original. A local painting of Valley of Rocks made a special wedding present and hangs proudly in a large new house in Indiana, USA, some pretty hand-made glassware catches the light in a window in Derbyshire and my favourite Lynton candles – I can’t drive past without popping in – release their enticing fragrances in houses from Sussex to Scotland!
I’d like to wish everyone a lovely, warm and wonderful Christmas and the very best wishes for 2014.