Saturday, December 29, 2007

Tis The Season to be Poorly

For some strange reason I just couldn't get warm all afternoon. We'd sat around the kitchen table, on the last Friday before Christmas, eating a selection of party snacks and drinking the damson gin that Lovely Warden had been brewing in his shed for the past few months. Well, I say eating and drinking. Lovely Warden and McColleague were. I, on the other hand, was not. My appetite was oddly absent and I was mostly sipping water, the alcohol not appealing to me as it usually does.

When my guests finally left I collapsed into an armchair, shivering.

Turned out I was coming down with a bout of festive flu and by the time I returned to normality Christmas was all over. I am not sure if this is a good thing or not, to be honest. I feel like I missed out on a proper big Christmas dinner and the whole drinking, merriment thing, but, then again, I didn't have to cook or make small talk, as I was in a feverish sleep and therefore excused. Swings and roundabouts really.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Deck the Hall

"I want lanterns," I said. "On sticks. You know, like the ones carol singers tradtionally carry in old pictures."

I needed to illuminate the path from the ticket office to the house for our evening event, and apart from our solar powered outdoor lights not looking as historically correct as a nice lantern, they also tend to be entirely deficient in the light emitting department.

Lovely Warden was very excited. Not only had I requested something involving bits of wood, I had also introduced the element of fire, which is always a winner.

Once I'd handed over the paraffin and a box of matches he was away.

Meanwhile McColleague and I put our finishing touches to the house, which, come to think of it, also involved bits of wood and the element of fire. We'd decked the hall with as much foliage as we could gather, and arranged it artfully around the many candles needed to light the house in the evening.

"Beautiful," we agreed, once we'd lit all the candles, and stood back to admire the effect. Flickering flames, ancient timbers. "Best keep the fire extinguishers within arms reach," we concurred.
Next came preparing the refreshments for the evening. The mulled wine was rigorously tested for temperature and flavour. "Needs more wine," said Lovely Warden. We couldn't be bothered to rigorously test the mince pies, we were sure they'd be fine. Besides, we were still sick of the bloody things from last year.
Our catering this time was spot on. Every morsel was consumed. It was slim pickings for McColleague and I at the end of the night.
"Do you want a clove-studded orange, or a walnut?"
"Are there any nut crackers?"
"No, I didn't want the public eating the display."
"I think I'll leave it."
I have promised something much more appetising for our staff gathering (me, McColleague and Lovely Warden round my kitchen table) next week.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Plan B

For when reindeer are not available. You'd never know the difference.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Festive Cheer and Two Reindeer

Everything was organised. The stalls were allocated, the banner was up on the main road, and press releases and adverts had been placed in all the local media.

All was accounted for and in its rightful place.

My Boss arrived and looked around at the preparations approvingly. "Oh, and I've got us some reindeer," he announced.


"Yes, they're pretty tame now."

"Um...are these the reindeer that were entirely wild the last I heard?"

"They'll be in a pen."

I watched the erection of this pen in the courtyard. I had concerns about its efficiency, concerns which were allayed with liberal applications of baling twine.

"How big are they, exactly, these reindeer?"

"Oh, not fully grown yet. Not that big. Quite small. The older one's only just come into rut. Which has made him a bit boisterous, but he's had a hormone jab and he'll be fine on the day."

I duly went off to rewrite my press releases to highlight this exciting new facet to our festive event.

As it turned out, the reindeer were hugely popular. The nice thing about them is that while most children are wise to the fact that Santa is just some bloke in a poorly fitting costume, a reindeer is undeniably a reindeer.

"Is reindeer shit as good for the garden as horse shit?" I idly asked McColleague as we watched the hordes of happy children stroking the furry defecating deer.

"Let's hope so," she replied.

"Ah well. Shall we go back to the brazier to get warm? We might be given more rejected chestnuts."

"What are we waiting for?"

We returned to the fire, eyes watering in the smoke, waiting to be offered those chestnuts which had burnt and/or been on the floor. We are not too proud to eat chestnuts which have had their flames extinguished by being stamped upon.