Jemima Khan, Jon Snow and others tell Prospect about their best presents—and the worstby Prospect / November 16, 2011 / Leave a comment
Best present received: my wife gave me a beautiful Tang horse about 15 inches high for my 50th birthday. It’s my most beautiful possession. Best present given: to my wife—portraits of our daughters by Tom Halifax. Worst present given: what I thought were fashionable leather jackets bought in a market in Seoul for my daughters. Never to my knowledge worn. Worst present received: a loudly ticking wall clock in the shape of an antelope from President Mugabe.
Chris Patten is chairman of the BBC Trust
The best present I ever received was an antique mosaic ring with a view of the Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome, given by my agent, the late Pat Kavanagh, for the publication of my book The Pattern in the Carpet, which describes just such a ring. Pat was an inspired giver of gifts and it is a treasure. The worst was a worrying green jersey that didn’t fit but was too good to throw away. The best I ever gave was a beautiful red and orange chequered bath towel which I gave to my father one Christmas. He died in 1982 but I spotted the towel the other day in the house of one of my sons and it still looks good. The worst was a bottle of Poire William for a party given by a dangerous drinker. Eau de vie, eau de mort, what a stupid idea. It might have killed him.
Margaret Drabble is a novelist and writer
Being raised as a child on Styal Road in Gatley was the best gift I ever received. The road was divided down the middle between Cheshire and Manchester. We were on the Manchester side and it meant I had to attend primary and junior school in Wythenshawe. It was a tough upbringing, and it had a profound influence on my development and life.
Jim O’Neill is chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management
A scented candle from someone you’re close to is always offensively unimaginative.
Jemima Khan is a writer and campaigner
Best present I’ve given: I ordered a VW Beetle for my wife one Christmas and had it delivered to the hotel where we were staying. Christmas morning we went for a walk. She saw the car and said how lovely it was—at which point I handed her the key and told her to take it…