I always find it hard to write a Christmas blog post. I’m not sure why but then Christmas isn’t really my favourite time of the year. Anyway, here are a few of my Christmas memories, some of them culled from previous Christmas posts.
I used to like Christmas way back when I was about 12 years old. There were three presents I wanted as a child for Christmas and I didn’t ever get any of them, well not for Christmas anyway. One was a Secret Sam Briefcase which was a toy briefcase based on something James Bond might have had back in the 1960’s. The other was a toy rifle called a Johnny Seven which was very much like the big blockbuster rifle that Ripley wields towards the end of the film Aliens and the final thing was an Action Man. It was apparently too expensive my mother told me.
After Christmas I still had dreams of getting an Action Man and I eventually did. I bought or swapped one from my old schoolfriend Peter. It had a broken foot but I stuck it back together and had many happy hours of fun with it. I built this huge flying car I called a Jet Raft but sadly the co-pilot’s seat went unoccupied for quite a long time. The next Christmas, Action Man must have come down in price substantially as my brother received one as part of his Christmas box.
Many times I borrowed his Action Man to occupy the co-pilot seat in the Jet Raft. If we fell out during our games as we frequently did, he would depart and take his Action Man with him. Later I bought his Action Man off him outright at what was probably, knowing him, a hugely inflated price.
Back then when you bought an Action Man outfit, each outfit came with a number of stars. If you saved up 21 you could get a free Action Man. I only ever bought a couple of outfits as I mostly made my own. My favourite was an Apollo astronaut outfit I made out of cardboard and some white fabric. However, I did cadge the stars off various schoolfriends and eventually saved up the 21. Yes, it was a great day when the Jet Raft was finally fully manned with pilot, co-pilot and navigator!
This is a picture of my old childhood home. It didn’t look like that when we lived there, there was no drive for a start and there was no metal fence, we used to have privet hedges but of course don’t forget the first rule of karma; nothing stays the same.
Christmases back then were cosy affairs. My brother and me lying on the mat in front of the coal fire and Bob, the family dog, trying to push past us for prime position. He used to get as close to the fire as he possibly could. When his nose dried up my mother would shout at him and drag him away as a dog with a dried-up nose is, as we all know, such a terrible thing. Well, mum thought so anyway.
We used to watch a lot of old black and white films back then, in fact many of the films I saw were films that my dad had seen in his younger days at the cinema. Once we watched Angels with Dirty Faces and I could see from my dad’s face that the film must have brought back good memories for him. I won’t tell you the end of the film because it has quite a clever twist but for whatever reason, just as we approached the final reel, dad felt so moved by re-experiencing the film that he had to tell me the ending! Thanks a bunch dad!
Yes, I’ve experienced many Christmases, some good and some bad. Many years ago I lived with my girlfriend, I’ll call her J. (J for Judas.) On Christmas morning J went out early to take her two children to Christmas day mass. While she was away, I charged up my video camera and when they returned, I shot various things, opening presents and having Christmas dinner and so on. It makes me sad to see that video now although I haven’t seen it for years. When the children came back from mass, they were anxious to open their presents but we were still waiting for their mum. Where is she, I asked? Oh, she had to make a phone call they said. Phone call? Why use the call box round the corner when we had a phone. Two phones in fact, one in the hall and one upstairs. When J eventually came home, she told me she had been chatting to a neighbour. A little alarm bell went off in my head at the time but I dismissed it.
Later it turned out that she had used the call box to phone her new boyfriend, the one she eventually left me for.
Another Christmas I remember was when I had bought my first car. I was still at home and we had moved out from Manchester just over the border into Cheshire. It was freezing cold and my radiator was leaking so I topped it up with water from the tap. I drove back into Manchester, went to a party which I ended up walking home from. When I went back the next day, the radiator had frozen and ruined the engine. That was an expensive Christmas and an expensive lesson to learn about motor cars.
Here’s one last Christmas memory. One far off Christmas spent with another ex-girlfriend in our small home in Merseyside. I’ll call the girl in question X. I had some time owing me so I had taken a few days off after Christmas. It had not been a great Christmas as it was the first one since X’s mother had died and she had sadly put the previous year’s Christmas card from her mother in pride of place right on the top of the TV.
Anyway, everyone was getting used to going back to work and there was me, who had worked during Christmas, knackered, worn out and ready for a break. I spent one day with my brother having a nice post-Christmas drink in Manchester and the next day I was relaxing, catching up on some TV of the type hated by X, yes, sci fi stuff, Star Trek, black and white films and so on and then a revelation came to me.
What if I took down the decorations, got rid of the tree, and chucked out the rubbish? There were piles of wrapping paper and empty bottles about and so on. I could actually come out of this looking good for once. Anyway, there and then I just got stuck straight in. I took the tree down, packed away all the ornaments and decorations and put the box back in the loft. The tree was chopped up and placed in the correct bin, the green one.
All the papers, wrapping paper and empty chocolate boxes and stuff were all removed and placed in the correct bin, (Don’t want to upset those hard-working bin men by putting stuff in the wrong bins, do we?) Old Christmas cards were removed also and placed into the brown bins.
After that a quick hoover up and a sort out of the furniture, all put back in its proper place.
Well, I think I worked up a bit of a sweat there as I remember. Great! Time now for a well-deserved cuppa, a bacon butty and get that black and white movie I recorded the other day cranked up.
As I sat there watching Ronald Colman, I could hear the sound of the bin men reversing down the avenue. Yes, my trusty van was on the drive, well out of the bin wagon’s way. (I don’t want to cast a slur on the bin wagon driver but accidents had been known to occur. And there was that incident last year when my next-door neighbour had the affrontery to park a huge transit van in the road making access difficult for the bin wagon so, well they just refused to come up the drive and empty our bins.) I had placed all the bins down by the end of the drive just within easy picking up distance for the bin men. (Can’t have them walking all the way up the drive to get the bins can we?)
Just then X came in through the door, I stood there foolishly thinking she would be happy and waiting for the praise that was bound to come my way. I hadn’t spent my day self-indulgently doing ‘my’ stuff. I had cleaned and tidied. I had helped. Hadn’t I?
X took one look at the tidy lounge then looked at me and said in a sort of scary accusatory sort of way: “What have you done?”
Well, I thought it was pretty obvious what had been done but just then the reversing horn of the approaching bin wagon set off a warning bell. What was wrong? The tree was in the correct bin. The plastic stuff and empty bottles in the glass and plastic bin. The paper stuff, the Christmas cards were all in the paper bin. The Christmas cards . .
I legged it outside just in the nick of time to dive into the paper bin just as the binman was about to empty it. Sprawled across the bin I rummaged frantically through the cardboard and wrapping paper and retrieved X’s mother’s card from certain destruction.
‘Afternoon’ I said nonchalantly to the bin men. They just looked at me with that ‘it’s that nutter from number 4’ look on their faces. Back inside X grabbed the card from my hand with a lethal black look and it was then that we became aware of a certain amount of what appeared to be tomato soup that had somehow attached itself to the card. Now, where that had come from, I do not know, I had not even eaten tomato soup that day (although perhaps I did throw a used tin of the stuff in the rubbish.) Oh well, at least my quick thinking had rescued the card!
Not long after, X and I parted company.
Those were a few of my Christmas memories. Hope you have a great Christmas and New Year.
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