|You made me think of floral clogs|
No, your eyes don't deceive. He's given me clog-shaped slippers made out of a rather super tulip print fabric. They have a cosy green fleece lining and those little studdy things on the bottom that are supposed to stop you slipping, but, in fact, make a weird noise and attract dirt. They are, in short, preposterous... and warm.
But I was delighted, and touched. No, really. You see, there's a bit of a back story.
Once upon a time, well December 2005 to be exact. I went to Amsterdam with my chums as one of them was celebrating a birthday with a 0 on it so as excuses go, it was excellent.
Before I left I asked the Panther of News what he wanted me to bring back for him. And he said: "Don't worry about me. Don't get a present, I don't want anything."
So I didn't. Not until we were on our way back and I happened into the tulip shop in Schipol Airport. Not the one that sells pretty bunches, but the one full of stuff with tulips printed on them. I bought him a fetching pair of tulip pants.
When I got home and handed proper goodies over to Boys One and Two (Three not even being a twinkle then), the Panther was watching, so I gave him the tulip pants. He said: "Very funny, but what did you really get?"
"Tulip pants. And you said you didn't want anything."
"D'oh. I clearly didn't mean it."
The tulip pants became symbolic of saying what you don't mean and don't expect to be believed, which happens surprisingly often in our house. For example, "Do you want some help with that?"
But, time passed and the tulips faded, the elastic sagged and eventually there were holes.
So when I saw the slippers - in the same print as the long-departed kecks - they made me smile.
They meant my man had prowled past anodyne perfume shops, samey, samey gift kiosks until he found the very thing. He wasn't just passing off some press pack giveaway as a present he bought (not this time, anyway). He took care and time to choose something with meaning, but not just something with meaning, something that was practical and, if it saw me resisting putting the heating on, a money saver too. That's my Panther, that is.