Wednesday, February 16, 2011

moira-y christmas!

Yes, I do know it's February, but I had to share this little tale with you and it has only just reached its very happy ending, despite its dubious beginnings in early December... And just so you know, this is not going to be the post where I keep the typing to a minimum. I have a story to tell.
You may (or may not) recall that I was off work with food poisoning one day in the middle of December. After watching a veritable bonanza of films from the '80s and '90s, I began wandering aimlessly around the internet from the comfort of the sofa. Browsing around etsy, I noticed I had to leave feedback for something, but I had no idea what it was. I began to panic, thinking someone had ordered something from me (who knows how long ago!) and I hadn't noticed for some reason. When I looked more closely, however, I realised it was feedback for a purchase and not a sale. Apparently I had bought myself the above print of Custard The Cat by Moira Millman. This print had been in my favourites for quite a while and I knew I had been sorely tempted to buy it on more than one occasion. It even crossed my mind that I had caved in and purchased it while drunk or exceptionally tired, which would have been no bad thing. (Yes, that is how much I was boozing in 2010. No more, people!) Pretty soon it dawned on me that it was December and that Graham must have bought the print for me as a Christmas present. He had never used etsy before and didn't have his own account so had used mine, not realising the extent of the trail he would leave behind himself. I knew he would be very disappointed if he realised I had found out, so I worked very hard at keeping my mouth tightly shut. This was not easy for me. I was also a bit concerned that I wouldn't be able to keep the act up on Christmas Day, but hoped the excitement of seeing the much-longed-for print in real life for the first time would help me feign surprise.

Christmas Day arrived and I was sat under my parents' Christmas tree opening my presents. I decided to save Graham's parcel for last. I knew it would be good after all! After a while of opening presents, I came to a parcel from my sister. This surprised me as she had told me that my Christmas present was being held hostage in her house in France after she fell out with her local post office and refused to use them. I peeled off the wrapping paper to reveal a familiar-looking cardboard box. I opened it up, peeked inside, saw a flash of blue and yellow... Disaster! My sister had got me the same print! What to do?! I had to think fast. Everyone was watching, excited to see what the present was. Graham's little face was full of the joys of Christmas morning with a sparkle in his eye that could only be caused by knowing he had got his girlfriend the perfect present. I had two options - 1. continue the ruse, finish unwrapping my sister's present and break poor Graham's heart, 2. come clean, confess I knew all and break poor Graham's heart. What a dilemma!

All eyes were on me and I had to act fast. "Graham, I have a confession to make..." Yes, I confessed all, told him I had known about the surprise present all along and broke the news that my sister had pipped him to the post and got me the exact same print. He took it on the chin like a man (though I'm sure we would have seen tears in his eyes if we looked closely enough, you know) and told me how he thought he had been so careful to cover his tracks. He'd even deleted the confirmation emails from my inbox. I tried to convince him that it was the thought that counted, so all that thought meant it counted even more, but I could see why he was disappointed. We all marvelled at the coincidence though and agreed that it was a good thing that both my sister and my boyfriend knew me so well and had such great taste in presents. (Now would be a good time to add that Graham also got me other lovely presents that I had not discovered, so not all Christmas surprises were blown out of the water!)

Anyway, much as I loved my prints, I wasn't entirely sure what to do with two of them. Both print buyers recommended I get in touch with Moira (you remember Moira - the clever lady who made the print) and reported that she was super-lovely and would be bound to have a solution. That is what I did and Moira did indeed prove to be just as super-lovely as they had said, as well as a great etsy seller. She offered to refund me, but as she had so much lovely stuff in her shop, I said I would rather go for an exchange.
I chose this Miss Beehive print, carefully packaged up one of my Custard The Cat Prints and sent it off to Moira. In no time at all, I returned from the swimming pool one day to find I had just missed the postman who had put a card through my door saying he had tried to deliver a white package. My print! Hooray! The very next day, Graham (see how nice he is? he really comes across well in this story!) cycled to the sorting office to collect the parcel for me, but... he returned empty-handed! We tried again the next day, but Miss Beehive still wasn't there. Somewhere between my front door and the local sorting office, Miss Beehive had got lost! :(

Poor Moira. Just when she thought she had heard the last of me, I was back in touch to tell her the next sorry installment of the tale. Being the truly excellent shopkeeper she is, she offered to send me yet another print straight away, but I said it was OK and we would harass Royal Mail for a while first. Much printing and filling out of forms ensued. Graham even made another trip to the sorting office for me just in case Miss Beehive had eventually turned up. No joy. Until... one month to the day after Miss Beehive had been posted to me, who should turn up at Moira's house? Yes, my Miss Beehive print!

I was so happy when Moira got in touch to tell me. Even though I knew Royal Mail would have been forced to pay for a replacement print eventually, it still made me really sad to think of the original Miss Beehive print being dumped somewhere or spending eternity never making it out of her box. Moira checked that I would be in the next morning, popped Miss Beehive back in the post and we both crossed our fingers and toes for her safe arrival. Lo and behold, on Saturday morning Miss Beehive finally arrived at her destination. She had been on quite a journey and did not even have a hair out of place. She looked even better in real life than she did on the screen :)

So this Christmas tale of highs and lows has a happy ending mid-February. Hooray! And the moral of the story is... make sure you visit Moira's etsy shop because it is the greatest. Oh, yes - and be grateful for any lovely boys/sisters you may have in your life.


  1. I bought myself Custard the Cat for Christmas- and he is lovely! And the packaging he was posted in was great. Well done Moira, excellent job!

  2. He really is lovely, isn't he? And, yes, great packaging is yet another string to Moira's splendrous bow. I think I may have made up the word splendrous, but it is spot on and well deserved, I say.

  3. Great to read your post Laura, it's a funny story and thanks for the kind words:) I'm really pleased it turned out ok in the end and you're happy with your prints:)

  4. That's my pleasure, Moira. Thank YOU for being so talented and ace :)


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