Never could I have predicted such shockingly shoddy dexterity. Why, some of my learners could barely rule a straight baseline let alone finger their broad edged nib with a tangible degree of care and competency. Only one hour into my Gift Wrapping for the Unskilled and there was no denying my meticulously planned workshop required modification.
I had anticipated that calligraphy endorsed gift tags would provide a stimulating opening to the day’s proceedings. I even opted for the Foundational Alphabet which is not only one of the calligraphic basics, its name would surely provide a psychological incentive to those unused to handling delicate writing implements. Such a pity the group failed to rise to my expectations.
I suggested an early tea break and beckoned my kitchen helpers – over indulging in village gossip aside the urn to the detriment of their duties – to bring forward the Earl Grey and Garibaldis. Perhaps an infusion of refreshments might rouse an element of creativity.
When everyone was finally persuaded to reconvene (thank heavens for my last minute decision to bring a servants’ bell) I chose the moment to launch into a mini lecture about sanitation. Treat your nibs well, I advised, delay not in flushing out your reservoirs and palettes must also be thoroughly cleansed after use. I had rather hoped to witness a profusion of note taking. Presumably, however, the attendees committed my advice to memory.
I then exposed the women to a selection of quality wrap. Embossed with seasonal icons, the customised paper included my personal monogram though I pointed out the ease with which anyone present could design a bespoke style to reflect their own heritage adding that all orders would result in a percentage being donated to The Christmas Luncheon Fund. Some of the elderly villagers, I recently discovered, rarely mobilise their ranges these days. Of course, such inexcusable lethargy should not be encouraged yet, with the season of goodwill upon us, I was resolute in my desire to help these indolent individuals.
Post Cook’s asparagus quiche and rocket with rosemary infused dressing (some delegates brought sandwiches which was acceptable; crisp trails and resulting odour were not) heralded the start of the practical segment of the afternoon. I demonstrated gift wrapping techniques and ribbon decor with unencumbered joy for only my annual period in the west facing Gift Wrapping Room could surpass such gratification. Finally, an hour was put aside for individual mentoring and consultation; not only an opportunity to encourage personal growth but, for me, the pleasure of sharing my expert knowledge.
A successful day, I concluded, despite persistent chitchat which forced me to deliver several rebukes. Nevertheless, I am confident that my ladies will henceforth enhance their Christmas gifts with uniquely stylish presentation. Indeed, I may consider making this workshop an annual event. For it would be irresponsible of me not to share my skills.