Day 47 of the 100 Pleats in 100 Days Challenge and, in honour of this grey and damp autumn day, I am sporting a classic French pleat and wearing golden leaves and berries in my hair. Very autumnal ….
Ahhhh AUTUMN ….. I have always loved this season.
The beautiful, muted golden light of September and the crunch of fallen leaves.
The chillier mornings of October and November …..when misty moisture clings to the spider’s webs that are strewn along the hedgerow ….. making it look as though its draped in a lacy tablecloth.
I know some look on autumn as a time of death and decay …..of the end of summer and hope. But I prefer to think of it as more of a pause …… a time of reflection ….an absolution …… a chance to “wipe the slate clean” ……… mistakes forgiven …..everything put away; tucked away; safe and warm before the winter snows. And a promise of a new beginning …..an opportunity to start again; refreshed and renewed; in the spring.
Autumn brings many festivals and customs too.
Harvest Festival, of course. ……… a thanksgiving for all being “safely gathered in” ….. for the cereal crops; vegetables and fruit that has flourished in the generous, bountiful summer months.
Hallowe’en and Samhain ……. pagan festivals and celebrations, with their roots in the mists of time …… I love this ….I’m sorry but I do !
Then there is Thanksgiving …….celebrated in the USA. I always think this is a most delightful occasion and believe we should adopt this custom in the UK. Its vital to remember how lucky we are …..yes we ARE …….. at least, when compared with the plight of many. The homeless ….the refugees, fleeing war and oppression. The starving thousands in countries ravaged by drought and pestilence. The poor and dispossessed; abused and persecuted everywhere.
If you are reading this you must have plenty to be thankful for.
Which brings me to another event which has become a sort of ‘custom’ over the last few years.
‘ The John Lewis Christmas Advert’
Today saw the launch of this advertisement on national TV and, once again the nation is divided. I was astounded by the reaction. It always seems to cause a rift and I have no idea why.
First and foremost …..ITS ONLY AN ADVERT …..surely nothing to get your knickers in a twist over ? Every year it shows us some cute little scene, played out against a charming rendition of a sweet little song …..culminating with a heart-warming message along the lines of
” Don’t forget your friends at Christmas …”
This year it highlights the loneliness of the elderly ……….Made in conjunction with the wonderful charity AGEUK , it reminds us to spare a thought for anyone who may be alone at Christmas. I guess they don’t have to be old….there could be a plethora of reasons why someone is lonely. Carers, widows and widowers, the mentally ill, the shy and afraid ….anyone. Sometimes they must feel that they may as well be living ‘on the moon’ …….. which is exactly how the elderly gentleman in the advert is depicted. John Lewis are not trying to solve the enormous problem of loneliness ….that’s not their job. But they are trying to make a point. One that even a child can understand.
So …. a lovely, sentimental, Christmassy advert …….to pull at our heart-strings. And what the flipping heck is wrong with that ?
But, of course, the usual suspects are at it. The heartless nay-sayers ….the self-righteous and the cynics. Smug little people in their smug little world.
“ Its a swizz “, they yell.
” Its all to make money for John Lewis ” they whine ….(well ….doh !)
“Don’t be taken in “, they moan.
Well …okay ….If you don’t like the flipping thing, don’t flipping watch it. (Exactly how I feel about the people who don’t like my blog)
But why make a big thing of it ? Why must some people spoil things all the time ?
You can’t please all the people all of the time …. Hell, no-one knows that better than little old me !!! Of course John Lewis expect a return on their investment. They are in the business of making money, after all and that’s what ads are for. But we are not naive, are we ? I know people overspend at Christmas …. but some gamble and smoke and drink too much too.
I haven’t bought anything from John Lewis for at least 6 years and yet I watch their ads every Christmas. …… I haven’t ever bought a sofa from DFS either …and their adverts are never off the TV.
I have no idea why John Lewis attracts the vitriol their adverts inspire . Not once does the advert say “Shop at John Lewis” …there is just a discrete little line at the end. Its totally unlike the brash, ‘in your face’ ads of many of its competitors and yet they receive not one iota of criticism. ….Perhaps its something to do with a perceived life-style ……… ? Does the ‘John Lewis Brand’ conjure up images of privilege ? Does this create jealousy ? Maybe ……….
But ….if the Man in the Moon advertisement makes just a handful of people stop and think ……and maybe pop along to the old guy down the road and take a tin of biscuits …( You can buy them at Aldi, if you want )
…….or maybe invite that wild-haired, reclusive woman with the weary smile, in for a cuppa ……….Well then its worth it.
Remember ….There but for the grace of friends and family go many of us …………………
It will be interesting to see if this SERIOUS blog post attracts any comments ……..