Any Garland on Christmas

PUBLISHED: 07:19 12 December 2015 | UPDATED: 07:19 12 December 2015

Andy Garland

Andy Garland

Archant

Radio Kent broadcaster and producer Andy Garland is trying his best to avoid knuckling down to Christmas planning this year by indulging in the random acquisition of useless information

I’m...well, I’m er…um…

Procrastination, the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished, the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks rather than more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later date.

December is a perfect month, with presents to buy, social events to attend and an almost military-like schedule of familial visits; I begin them all by completing the essential task of once again typing ‘derelict mansions UK’ into Google.

Fuelled by repeated viewings of Grand Designs and Country House Rescue, I dream of renovating a crumbling pile. With Kent’s property prices beyond my reach, my search takes me from Wales’ Hafodunos Hall to the Disneyesque towers of Shandon House in Scotland, just a stone’s throw from the peace camp at the Faslane naval base (the reason for these tangential informational excursions will become clearer in a moment), via my home county of Devon and its Poltimore House.

Dreaming of panelled libraries, oxblood red leather chesterfield wingback armchairs and gravelled turning circles can keep me quiet for at least a couple of hours; but when a festive season deadline really begins to loom there’s nothing better than traversing the highways and byways of a Wikipedia trail.

So, my curiosity piqued by a recent sideways glance from the M20, I search for Aylesford’s Preston Hall. This leads me to the Medway Valley Line which ran through part of the estate, and from there a swift canter through the 1955 
modernisation plan inevitably points to every rail enthusiast’s pantomime baddy and infamous man of Kent, Dr Richard Beeching. A hop, skip and a jump via former Transport Minister Ernest Marples combined with a rather saucy turn of events and eventually I end up reading about the rather more prosaic topic of green belts. All fascinating but I’m still procrastinating.

And I’ve not even begun on the time-wasting capabilities of social media; time was, when on Christmas Eve when I would actually sit down (at the bottom of the stairs – remember the days when the phone was in the hallway? How impossibly quaint that seems now) and call my friends up one by one to literally talk to them.

Now a flick through my Twitter feed and a scroll down my Facebook timeline reveals I’m not alone in passing virtual season’s greetings to friends and family alike. Indeed my New Year’s Eve message last year from Monty Python’s The Meaning of life - “Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations” - was shared far and wide.

Sensible policies for a happier Britain that may be, yet in the time it’s taken to copy and paste that text, I’ve since learnt that Python regular Carol Cleveland is 73, Jane Leeves (one of the Christmas-bedecked dancers in the The Meaning of Life) was born in Ilford and has an Emmy to her name and that Matt Frewer, who also featured briefly, went on to play 1980’s icon Max (M, M, Max) Headroom.

I like this almost random acquisition of useless information, but it is such a time waster. I must knuckle down to December’s Kent Life column… wFind out more

Andy Garland presents Sunday Gardening from 8am on BBC Radio Kent, kentgardening@bbc.co.uk or text the team on 81333, starting your message with KENT

More from People

Thursday, September 17, 2020

80 years after the Battle of Britain, Richard Bates recalls the role his father H.E. Bates played in telling the stories of the famous ‘Few’ | Words: Richard Bates

Read more
Thursday, September 10, 2020

They were petty Kent criminals, sentenced to transportation to New South Wales, who became ‘Australian royalty’ as part of the ‘First Fleet’ | Words: John Wright

Read more
Friday, September 4, 2020

The Princess Royal, who celebrates her 70th birthday this month, reflects on her happy time at Benenden School near Cranbrook | Words: Bernard Bale

Read more

Kent Life meets some of the people working hard to save our historic vessels from the scrap heap

Read more
Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Take a step back in time to the good old days with these vintage videos from around Kent

Read more
Tuesday, August 18, 2020

King Kong star Naomi Watts may be an Oscar-nominated actor, but she’s proud of her Kentish roots

Read more
Monday, August 10, 2020

Like any place of learning, an independent school should be a second home, somewhere pupils can count on for support and inspiration as they develop as individuals.

Read more
Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Tradition continues at Chartwell, the family home of Sir Winston Churchill in Westerham, with the arrival of its newest recruit – a marmalade cat named Jock

Read more
Monday, August 3, 2020

Phil Wise, Head of the Senior School at Kent College Canterbury (KC), shares the benefits of pastoral care and why student welfare should be the number one priority for any school.

Read more

Nina Callow reveals why she’s documenting her family’s life in lockdown

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Latest from the Kent Life