Thursday , October 18 2018
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We Three Kings of Hartlepool are

Well merrily ding dong, come all ye faithful and jingle me bells; Christmas is once more hurtling towards us like a police car towards Church Street on a Friday night I write this pre-festive missive sitting here in the front room of my house which has been bedecked and festooned to look like a cheap and tacky version of Santas Grotto. In fact there are more decorations in here than in Santas Grotto in Middleton Grange!

As mentioned previously Mrs H loves all things Christmassy and so every time she comes home from wherever shes been another few pieces of tinsel, baubles or other decoration accompanies her from the pound shop. The latest jolly item that has appeared is sitting on our front window sill and I hope it can feel the hatred as I stare at it with my steely gaze. Its a small plinth which holds two snowmen who sing Baby its Cold Outside to each other when you walk past them. I used to quite like that song but after hearing it ten times today so far I feel that Sammy the Singing Snowman and his evil twin will meet with a freak window cleaning accident very soon

She: Wheres the Singing Snowmen

Me: They fell out of the open window whilst I was reaching to clean the glass.

She: Did they break

Me: I dont know

She: Whys that

Me: Because they mustve landed at least three gardens away!

I dont mind Christmas myself after all its a time of year when youre supposed to eat, drink and be merry all things Im pretty good at (well 2 out of 3 aint bad!) but I feel that I really do need to draw the line somewhere. If I dont watch out, Ill find myself sat in my favourite armchair with Mrs H insisting that I wear a Santa outfit and beard just so that I fit in with the dcor.

One thing I dont particularly enjoy at Christmas is the works party where you get to drink overpriced alcohol with people who you would never normally associate with outside of work in a place you wouldnt normally be seen dead in. Dont get me wrong usually your colleagues are OK to have a drink with apart from a few exceptions (at the very least, every department has ONE bozo) but the trouble usually starts when other departments are invited and the cheap Chardonnay has taken effect. And even though youre not being paid, works rules still apply for instance its frowned upon by the big boss if you actually tell Tommy from HR at the top of your voice that hes a jumped up unscrupulous little git who licks the senior managers boots to get on whilst treading on everyone elses hopes and dreams on the way. Its frowned on even more if you then hit him so hard that you knock him out and break his jawbone.

Not that Ive ever done such a thing Ive never had the nerve to carry it out but Ive certainly considered it. Every year.

The highlight of the Christmas period is, of course, Christmas Day itself. Me and Meine Ubergruppenfuhrer have the same routine each year and we think that its pretty unbeatable I get up early and cook us a breakfast of smoked salmon scrambled eggs on toast and we wash it down with a bottle of champagne, all whilst listening to Christmas CDs or radio. After that we open our presents and have a nip of Scotch as a morning livener. Then its off to the Pint and Fight for 2 hours for a Christmas aperitif.

As a slight aside, a few years ago we had to spend a Christmas Day in another town visiting some old friends instead of being at home. The pre-dinner drinking session was held in an excellent pub which, even though we were strangers, gave us our first drink free. What followed was two hours of hysteria as the tradition in this pub was for all the men to visibly wear all of the Christmas presents of clothes that they had been bought. There were guys in three jumpers, one chap had a scarf which was actually a pair of trousers wrapped around his neck and socks as gloves, and one chap had a pair of underpants outside of his trousers (a la Superman)!

Back to the current Christmas plan After the pub comes the main event which of course is Christmas Dinner – this year ably cooked by the wifes sister Camella (Is this the only time you can call a lunchtime meal dinner without some Campaign for Real English Speaking pedant attacking you). We all sit down at the table at two oclock and start noshing our way through the mountains of turkey, roast potatoes, parsnips, bacon wrapped sausage thingies and sprouts (which have of course been cooking on a slow boil since early March). After dinner we then gently ease our way through the rest of the day with all of the adults in the family round the table in an evening long dinner party atmosphere whilst the kids play with their new presents and gadgets at the other end of the room. No TV, No radio, just a civilised family day with those that you love. Great stuff.

As Xmas is a time for celebration, partying, friends and of course family most of all, I tried to think of some nice quote to sum up my warm feelings for the festive season. I couldnt think of anything particularly deep and meaningful so I thought that Id leave you with the words of that great 1970s philosopher, Noddy Holder:

IIITSSSS CHRIIIIIISSSSSTTTTTMMMAAAAAAASSSSS!!!!!

Wherever you are and whoever youre with, a very Merry Christmas to you all.

Cheers!

Headlander

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