Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas Log

Well here we are on Christmas Day and I thought it would be a great idea to share my Christmas log with all of you...

No...don't worry, it is not that kind of log, I could never bring myself to be so unoriginal as to utter that joke that has been done to death millions of time the world over ever since William Shatner first uttered the words "Captain's Log, Stardate xxxx.x" way back in 1966. Though a former work colleague of mine if he reads this (Hello Dave!) will chuckle, as the subject of me producing a Christmas log every year seemed to put him into hysterics. So Dave, I thought I would mention it just for you.

Speaking of originality, this is the first time I have ever managed to squeeze out a log (sorry!) on Christmas Day before, and the last thing I want to do is bore you with a potted account of the day's proceedings as I am sure there will be nothing in there that you haven't done yourselves on countless past Yuletide occasions. Instead what I have decided to do is provide you five mini logs about five random and unrelated things that I've made a mental note during the day "Oh I must write something about that". This is what you do as a writer, especially one who writes in the journal style such as I do. I never really know what I am going to write next, but I have a sort of mental jotting pad in my head which is constantly being added to every day as I experience the world around me.

One of the things I try to do is to write things that nobody else has written. Or at least things I don't think anyone else has written about, maybe they have, but if I've never seen it, then as far as I am concerned I'm being original! You would think it would be quite hard to come up with original ideas, but it seems that my mind doesn't work quite in the same way as everyone else's. Whilst I could sit here for days and struggle to write one sentence about something like the X Factor, the acres of space devoted to it in the media suggests there is plenty to write about. But it doesn't inspire me. But give me an obscure subject e.g. scented candles and I can knock you up a paragraph or two, no problem. So here are my five "mini logs", a paragraph on each, and we may as well kick off with the aforementioned scented candles.

1) Scented candles. A great idea in principle but the problem with them is - they just don't work! They are great when you sniff them in the shop or get them home. Lovely smells of all manner of fruits and flavours, at this time of year normally Yuletide related. But when you burn them you can't smell anything - it's a basic design flaw. This doesn't happen with other nice smelly things. If you get something nice and smelly from a Lush shop and lather it all over yourself in the shower, you'll smell of it too. In fact I've had some stuff from there that's so nice I've gone around sniffing myself all day afterwards, gathering some strange looks in the street into the bargain. Air fresheners - well, some of them are good too. You can fill the bathroom with some most pleasant aromas - just the thing after the Christmas log (oops, sorry I mentioned it again). But scented candles? Rubbish. You may as well just buy some normal candles and spray some air freshener around it would be more effective.

2) Christmas Crackers are crap aren't they? Yes, really they are. The cheap ones are crap, and so are the expensive ones. I've tried all sorts from pound shop cheapies to M&S premium. All crap. Never in 43 years on this earth has any gift every fallen out of a cracker that has excited me in any way and the jokes are not even worth mentioning. All of this is just about forgiveable if you get a decent hat, but the ones this year were too big even for my head and that's saying something. As for the kids, well they may as well have been necklaces. Does anyone ever take into account the size of a child's head when designing a cracker? Oh, and only 2 out of the 4 actually made a bang. Worst crackers ever - they came from Martins by the way, name and shame, why not?

Christmas Crappers

3) After two negatives, better have a positive, don't want to appear Scrooge like! Huge thumbs up for the Aldi turkey crown, it came up trumps! We only paid £11 for this, and only had to carve one half to feed all four of us quite comfortably. We didn't have a huge amount each as my giant pigs in blankets that I mentioned I was going to make took up a big space on the plate - the sausages and bacon for these also came from Aldi. I would have paid at least double for the equivalent last week in any of the big supermarkets and I have to say there was no difference in quality at all compared to the birds I've had from them in the past. Even when Tesco were discounting them all by a third two days before Christmas they were still appreciably more expensive and there seemed to be loads left there and in Sainsbury. Possibly this was a marketing thing (overprice them and then discount to make them look like a bargain) but it didn't seem to be working. Perhaps the nation is wising up to the big boys tricks at last! Nice work people, and if you enjoyed your dinner from Aldi or Lidl this year too, a big high five from me!

4) We sat as a family and watched The Snowman and then The Snowman and The Snowdog, superb films as I mentioned before. However, and this is true nitpicking at its finest, I couldn't help noticing on the flight to the North Pole that they passed a couple of penguins. Now as everyone knows Penguins only live at the South Pole, yet it seemed this glaring error has gone unnoticed for over 30 years. I even googled it and couldn't find any reference to it. But I've decided as it is Christmas that I will let this error go, as there are two possible explanations. These are a) that the writers knew this but as it was for children they thought they could not have a bit of snow without some penguins - it is only a fantasy after all. I compare it to the fact that there were dinosaurs in The Flintstones - millions of years too late but nobody minded. Either that or b) they were flying over some sort of sea life centre or zoo, and the penguins, imported from the South Pole were wandering about in their free range pen. Either way, I've decided to let you off, which is just as well, because lo and behold, thirty years later they turned up in the sequel too.

5) Finally - Christmas time means Mistletoe and Wine, according to Cliff (who I was amused to read the other day came in at #1, #2 and #3 in the Top ten most hated Christmas songs of all time). Well there is no mistletoe here this year girls so no need to all rush round. OK, you weren't anyway, but allow me to continue with my delusion that I am some sort of sex symbol, it's good for the ego. But in terms of wine, I was lucky enough to receive a very nice and tempting looking red from my in-laws which is just begging to be opened. It's exactly five weeks to the day since I last touched a single drop of alcohol and I am very pleased with how well I've done. But after all the hard work that goes into making a family Christmas fun - keeping the kids happy, cooking the meal, and all the weeks of preparation, I think cracking open this bottle of wine tonight is more than deserved. I can always return to semi-teetotalism after Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

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