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A Christmas Story


A Christmas Story.

I remember, many years ago, being on Oxford Street.

It was Christmas, and I was walking hand in hand with a girl whose name has been lost to time and whose face I think was similar to that of Cinderella or Cinderella’s sister, one of the two.

It was dark. Lights twinkled. I could hear the sound of Carol singers on the breeze and little Bob Cratchit was playing in the snow as the cheeky chaps in London taxi’s whizzed smiling shoppers home after a fun day shopping. Cilla Black was jumping out of dark corners surprising people and Noel Edmonds was slapping everyone on the back and laughing hysterically at nothing in particular in a way that only Noel Edmonds annoyingly can.

I had just left my favourite drinking establishment after a hard day at work followed by four hours of professional mulled wine drinking. It was during the mulled wine drinking that I met Cinderella, entered into conversation about her life, her career, her dreams and aspirations and now we walked along looking like a couple very much in love and planning a life together.

I never met Cinders again. As the night ended, I just went on my way to Tottenham Court Road tube station and the Northern Line.  She needed the Piccadilly line from Oxford Circus.

We never argued. We didn’t suffer the pain of a relationship break up.

A truly happy Christmas story.

That is what used to happen.

In London and all over the world.  At Christmas time.

I felt happy. I felt, Christmassy.

But then something changed.

Something dark.

Something a little sad.

Christmas wasn’t Christmas anymore. For me, Christmas had vanished.

Bob Cratchit was mowed down by an Uber driver. Mulled wine brewed in a cauldron by Witches became Bacardi Breezer mulled wine (with bubbles) made by evil scientists. Cinderella stopped being Cinderella and adopted a non-binary persona.  Cilla Black died.

Noel Edmonds didn’t die.

Christmas.

Was gone.

I forget the exact year I lost Christmas.

Possibly 1999.

For 14 years, December became a 25 step advent calendar of pain.

I abused myself with Bacardi Breezers.

I watched Noel Edmonds repeats.

I tried to fake things. I had a tree. I stuck things on it, like tinsel and home made baubles using the inside of loo rolls decorated with glitter and short sprigs of bailing twine.

I purchased presents for loved ones, good presents. Which is a lie.

I purchased rubbish.

Always on Christmas Eve.

Always from Tesco.

If you have ever tried doing all your Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve in your local Tesco, please don’t try. Unless you hate your partner and want a speedy divorce.

Your choices are limited to cans of deodorant, plastic party forks, a single dented box of pretzels and a banana.

These choices probably explain why I had so many wives during this 14 year period.

I must have confused them.

For 11 months of the year, I would be a kind, generous chap..  Then I would ruin it by wrapping up and placing under the tree my four gifts of deodorant, fork, pretzel and fruit. I can even remember their faces as they un-wrapped them.  The anticipation.  The excitement. They would hug me and say, “Darling, you shouldn’t of.

They would joke, “Your wrapping up is truly terrible….

I would be thinking, “My wrapping up is good compared to the present inside.

Then the moment came. They found the fork. The confusion. The uneasy laugh. The decree nisi. The decree absolute.

It wasn’t that I was setting out to be a rubbish present buyer. It’s just. Well. The fault of Tesco?

No, I take that back, I can’t blame anyone but myself.

Time moved on. Years rolled by.

Then things changed.

Again, I am not sure when things changed, but at some point, Christmas found me laying in the gutter, picked me up, stuck a beard on me and pointed me in a new direction.

It could have occurred in 2013. Christmas day. I was in a cow shed. With a cow. Then I was in a cow shed with a cow and a baby cow. That was cool. I named it Jesus.

Or 2014. I was in a field. With sheep. Then baby sheep. I named them Jesus.

Or 2015. I was in an operating Theatre. With a pug. Having babies. She had 5. I named them all Jesus.

Then this year. Last weekend. I was in a tent. With the full team. Celebrating Christmas. I looked around.

Some dancing.

Some drinking.

Some chatting.

I realised I was surrounded by people that I actually love and I felt incredibly lucky. I also felt.

Christmassy.

Have a peaceful Christmas all and much love.

And yes. I know that this is a really long winded way to post some pictures of the team, scrubbed up and out of scrubs, but I’ve enjoyed writing for an hour or two. Its been therapeutic.

Sx