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Two #ChristmasSpecials done right: #BuffyTheVampireSlayer’s “#Amends” and #TheXFiles’ “#HowtheGhostsStoleChristmas”! Both dealing with #ghosts, the #loneliness of the holidays, the power of #friendship and having endings that make me cry! “Ghosts” first aired on December 13th(Happy 19th Anniversary) and “Amends” premiered December 15th, #1998! 👻🎄💀❄️ #christmas #saturnalia #yule #festiveasfuck #horror #horrorgeek #spooky #creepy #spooky #haunting #vampires #haveyourselfamerrylittlechristmas #magicsnowmusic #december #winter #terrorverse

I first met the purple smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’) when I was freelancing for a design agency in Spitalfields in the early noughties. I'd grab a delicious curry for lunch from one of the stalls in the yet to be renovated market and take it, along with my Open University text books (studying Environmental Policy in an International Context – all about the importance of shared sovereignty and multi-national environmental agreements – oh, the irony) and go sit in a little garden area off Folgate Street, passing into the enclosed space by a marvellous shrub with large, plum-coloured, paddle-shaped leaves. Fast-forward a decade and a half, and I'm pruning a mature version – the eldest of three in this garden – in the full knowledge that to get the best show from the foliage, I need to cut it back reasonably hard now, albeit at the expense of the "smokey" flowers from which the bush gets its name (I can live without the flowers. It's quite a good hazy kind of effect if you want that sort of thing, but to be honest, I just want big purple leaves). The sap has a wonderful, slightly astringent scent – with the punchiness of bay, but with more spice – not unlike a walnut, come to think of it, though less heady. You have to sniff quite hard to get the cotinus scent, whereas walnut will hit you after a few minutes raking up the leaves. This particular shrub seems bomb proof – it has blown over, and carried on growing. Most recently, the landscapers managed to fell a birch onto one of the main branches, much to my annoyance, radically altering its shape – but I've no doubt even this will be taken in its stride. I haven't even mentioned the detail of its fissured, moss and lichen covered bark, dark brown with cinnamon splashes, almost like flaking rust in places. I'm not sure you could ask more from a shrub. 🌱✨ #mystoryoflight #peninpractice #olympusuk #tostandandstare #winter #fb #penepl7

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