Gratitude Unwrapped and Facing Festive Frustrations



This week I’m not really attempting much of an email to you, rather I’m just going to thank you, whether you are reading for the first time, or you’ve been putting up with me for the last 5 or 6 years. Over this time, I’ve had feedback from my teams in the shops, and for the most part how much you enjoy them, so thank you very much. And it’s possible that you are one of those who have screwed up their courage to actually write to me thanking or challenging me on one point or another. These communications I really enjoy.

And on that point, my taste in Bordeaux has been brought into question on two occasions, my understanding of weight versus pressure, ditto, as has my slightly sexist, but highly appreciative, comments on a number of the attractive women who I am bound to entertain in my shed/office as they are pedalling wares that I, as the buyer, am obliged to view, and that of course providing that they bring me cake. (One of the longest sentences of those 5 to 6 years!) And just to set the record straight here, their male colleagues are also levied with the same requirement.


Notwithstanding these criticisms, which I rather enjoy, either because I learn something new, or can reply seeking further understanding,  I’d like to encourage you to write more, (or at all..?) please. So, if you are one for whom making New Year’s resolutions actually works (and apparently it does for some) then please make one of them replying to me when you feel so moved. You have two options. One is to do so publicly by replying to the copy of this email on the website HERE, or alternatively you can email me at and you will always get a reply. If by chance you don’t, then it means I’ve missed it.  I get a lot of emails every day, most of which don’t require a reply, but it still means there’s a large amount of noise which can make identifying interesting ones (emails from our customers) a little difficult at times.  In which case please nudge me. And whilst on a point of order (GDPR), please tell me if I can quote you in a future email. By default I will change your name to make it anonymous, but quite often I’ve found myself wanting to quote someone but have run out of time to check (with you) before doing so, which is frustrating.


I’ll finish by wishing you the Christmas time that you are hoping for, but remember the best laid plans of mice, men, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers cats and dogs can still go horribly awry, with all those animals crowded into an unnaturally small space.  So, if it all goes swimmingly, be pathetically grateful, and if it goes tits up, know that you’re not the only family in the land, that is currently grappling with this, right at this moment!

The last word

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." - William Arthur Ward

I hope that you have a pleasant and peaceful extended weekend.



Kind regards and hope you have a peaceful extended weekend


Kind regards,


Andrew Bluett-Duncan



  • Chris

    Dear Andrew,
    I’d like to pass on my gratitude for your weekly emails. It is a Saturday ritual for me to settle down with a strong black coffee and either peacefully read to myself, or more recently, share your words with my partner Gus. I delight in your wisdom, raw honestly and wit.
    Many thanks and here’s to a fascinating 2024

  • Julia Sayer

    Happy, Happy Christmas Andrew to all your family, keep sending the emails they are my weekly interesting read. How about some recipes you recommend and make! As Babette used to do. xx

  • Gill

    Happy Christmas Andrew, to your family and to the wonderful Art of Living staff.
    Your emails are a Saturday morning treat and the Cobham shop has been my favourite shop for many years. The staff are so friendly and knowledgeable. Thank you.

  • Jane Mason

    Happy Christmas Andrew. Sending hugs to you and yours and very much looking forward to seeing you in the New Year.
    Very best wishes. Jane

  • Mandy

    Happy Holidays to Andrew and family and Art of Living. You all make my world a more pleasant place. Mandy

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