Nicola Harrington - guest blogger living in France with 7 holiday rental gites

Nicola Harrington


Preparations are well underway for the annual Reminiac Christmas Fair, a real treasure trove of arts and crafts, and I find myself surrounded by toilet rolls.

Sadly, I am just NOT arty or crafty, which is a shame, as both my father and brother are extremely talented (I blame my mother’s genes!). Unlike the two of them, there isn’t a single creative bone in my body. This means I always feel a bit apprehensive when the Christmas season approaches as I know fully well I will be required to join into all the preparations for the fair. 

Arts and crafts and toilet rolls 1

Every year the women in the village are encouraged to attend craft sessions every Saturday morning during the months of October and November, in order to make various weird and wonderful things to sell at the Christmas fair. Most of them are bursting with exciting ideas, and there is no end to their creativity (I am not talking about pen holders made out of yoghurt pots or noodle necklaces made by kids in primary school). These ladies create items by stitching, sewing, knitting, glueing, painting, etc. and there is no end to their imaginative talents.

For my part, I am just NOT good at making things, and anything I do make looks like a six-year-old has been let loose and has had a bad experience with a pot of PVA glue!


Last year, however, I made some Christmas tree advent calendars out of toilet rolls. Yes, very Blue Peter.

When I was first handed the huge bag overflowing with the rolls as a starter pack, I thought to myself I had better start thinking seriously about what to do with them. Toilet rolls? Now, here was a challenge! Not something I found particularly inspiring. But, eventually, the idea of the Christmas tree advent calendars took root, and between you and me, I was secretly feeling rather chuffed at having come up with such an inventive idea.

Sadly, the calendars did look as bad as they sound and my sense of pride soon disappeared once the stall was set up with my creations displayed in prime place. I was mortified!

So I decided to put my poor husband on standby and asked him to casually walk past the ‘craft’ stall just before the end of the fair to buy any that remained!

Unbelievably, they were all sold, unless my husband really did buy them all and got rid of them quickly to save my embarrassment!

Arts and crafts and toilet rolls 2


Well, this year, the president of the ‘Christmas Fair’ has asked me to make 30 Christmas Tree advent calendars. Perhaps last year’s creations weren’t as bad as feared. I feel rather pleased and honoured. My creative talents have obviously been recognised. Either that, or there is a shortage of volunteers.

So, bearing in mind that each individual calendar uses 11 toilet rolls, that is rather a lot of rolls. However, this year, I wasn’t provided with a bag already overflowing with stock. It’s up to me to provide. Guess what? Now I am worried that I will not have enough rolls. Thirty calendars times 11 rolls mean… 330 toilet rolls! There is NO way we will go through 330 toilet rolls by 4th December.

I am secretly hoping for some serious stomach upsets (My cooking talents should be able to help along the way…). It’s either that or start going round all our neighbours’ houses and beg. If they didn’t already think I was a mad English woman, this should definitely do it.

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