It’s Christmas Eve. A present has to be finished. This a sandstone bowl on a tripod (stainless steel pins). I need to apply gold leaf to the hollow. In books on ‘how to apply gold leaf’ pages are laboriously written about having to have brushes made from the neutered backside of a Patagonian beaver (better still badger), or some such exotic animal. Then one must have a leather cushion on which to careful ‘breathe’ the leaf – the exquisite leaf. There must be the scent of oils, the sound of birds singing, and one must, of course, be a monk, aesthetic, a Franciscan perhaps. Tush. I use an old paint brush and take the leaf (24 carat) in my fingers. Okay, I break every rule but it works. Happy Christmas.