instructions for making an advent wreath, and thought it was time I offered an insight iinto the creation of the wild and wonderful wreath we have in Holy Trinity Church, Dunoon. So here you are:
1. Pick a dreich day at the end of the week before Advent. If it is raining, it will be a more authentic experience and the greenery will be wonderfully fresh.
2. Equip yourself with a couple of black bin liners and a pair of secateurs. A pal to help is a good idea, and the addition of a third party to hold a bag and keep cave if necessary is a luxury.
3. Head out into the woods. It is best if botanical experimentation in said woods has resulted in an abundant variety of species of evergreen.
4. Cut shapely fronds from as many different trees as you can reach, and stuff them into your bags.
5. In the church, rummage among assorted rusty metal stands till you find the Advent Candle stand which when last seen was doubling as a flower holder. Reassemble at the required height, brushing off the bits of fossilised foliage.
6. Pinch the required quantity of Oasis from the flower-arrangers' stock and jam below where the candles will go. It should be wet: Advent goes on a bit and you don't want it to dry out.
7. Insert the candles. Three purple, one pink, and a white one in the middle. Pay absolutely no attention to anyone who suggests that red is a suitable colour. It isn't.
8. Ram the ends of your tree cuttings into the Oasis, longest and frondiest (I just made that up) at the bottom. Continue to build it up all round, with some gesture in the direction of symmetry. Remember that the priest and servers will have a back view of it - don't neglect its rear.
9. Top it off with several clusters of the wonderful pink berries which look as if they're made of plastic and which the Good Lord in his wisdom caused to grow in the church grounds. On no account use red berries - they will clash hideously with your pink and purple candles (see 7 above)
10. Do not forget to sweep up the mess you have made on the floor, or that the tiles are now very slippy with the wet. It would be injudicious to Take A Fall at this juncture.
There. The Dunoon Advent Wreath. All buckshee but for the candles. Oh - and that hybrid stand.