Then there's the books.
Hubby understands this - well, he jolly well should after all these years, so there were some very cool books under the tree.
Still Life: Inside the Antarctic huts of Scott and Shackleton Photography by Jane Ussher, Essays by Nigel Watson.
This is one of those emotional books that reduced me to tears the first time I looked through it. It's a magnificent thing and something anyone with an affinity to Antarctica, and the spirit of exploration and heroicism of these amazing men, needs to have this book. Antarctica is a brutal environment, and it amazes me that these huts still stand. The fact this book exists makes me rest a little easier as it is an extraordinary record of the living conditions of the men that sheltered there. Jane Ussher captures the desolation and mood of these places, and revels in the minutiae. The YouTube clip shows some of the pics to give you a little taste
As people who keep track of my blog have probably gathered, I'm a little partial to the sport of fencing. Okay, I'm borderline obsessive, so I was delighted to have these two books under the tree...
The Fencing Master by Arturo Perez-Reverte
A thriller about fencing - it doesn't get much better than that!
Here's the back cover blurb...
Fencing is not a game but a science. The outcome is invariably the same: triumph or disaster, life or death.
Jaime Astarloa is a master-fencer of the old school, priding himself on the precision, dignity and honour of his ancient art. It is 1868; Spain teeters on the brink of revolution, his friends spend their days in cafes discussing plots at court, but Jaime's obsession is to perfect the irresistible sword thrust. Then Adela de Otero, violet-eyed and enigmatic appears at his door. When Jaime takes her on as a pupil he finds himself embroiled in dark political intrigues against which his old-fashioned values are no protection.
The Ultimate Guide to Weight Training for Fencing
Okay, so this one isn't going to have universal appeal, but it's pretty self-explanatory.
I was also given some book vouchers - oh dear, how sad ...