Saturday, 4 December 2010



The first day after Christmas

My true love and I had a fight

And so I chopped the pear tree down

And burnt it, just for spite

Then with a single cartridge

I shot that blasted partridge

My love gave to me.

The second day after Christmas

I pulled on the old rubber gloves

And very gently wrung the necks

Of both the turtle doves

My love gave to me.

On the third day after Christmas

My mother caught the croup

I had to use the three French hens

To make some chicken soup

The four calling birds were a big mistake

For their language was obscene

The five golden rings were completely fake

and turned my fingers green.

The sixth day after Christmas

The six laying geese wouldn't lay

So I sent the whole darn gaggle to the


On the seventh day, what a mess I found

The seven swans-a-swimming all had drowned

My love gave to me.

The eighth day after Christmas

Before they could suspect

I bundled up the

Eight maids-a-milking

Nine ladies dancing

Ten lords-a-leaping

Eleven pipers piping

Twelve drummers drumming - well, actually I kept one of the drummers -

And sent them back collect

I wrote my true love

"We are through, love!"

And I said in so many words

"Furthermore your Christmas gifts were for the Birds!"

Four calling birds,

Three french hens,

Two turtle doves

And a partridge in a pear tree!"

Friday, 3 December 2010

Joyce Grenfell, The Nativity

Hello, Mrs Binton. I'm so glad you could get along to see a rehearsal of our Nativity Play! Can you squeeze in there? I'm afraid our chairs are a wee bitty wee, as they say north of the border!
Now then, children. We are going to start our rehearsal. Where are my Mary and Joseph?
That's right, Shirleen, take Denis by the hand and come and sit nice and quietly on this bench in the middle.
Don't drag him. He'll come if you leave him alone!
Don't hit each other, Mary and Joseph were friends
Now, who are my Wise Men?
You're a Wise Man, aren't you, Geoffrey?
Oh, aren't you? What are you then?
Oh, you're a cattle, are you? And you are going to low. Splendid! Go over to Miss Boulting, will you, please?
Miss Boulting... You are organising the animals and the angets? He is one of yours.
Now, my Wise Men here, please!
Billy, Peter and George.
And George, Wise Men never do that...
Now my Kings, please.
Of course, Mrs Binton, we know that by tradition the Wise Men and the Kings are one and the same, but we did want everyone in our Nursery School Nativity Play to have a chance, so we have taken a few liberties, and I don't think any one will mind,
Now Kings: Sidney, Neville, Cliff and Nikolas Anoniodes.
Four Kings, I'm afraid. We happen to have four lovely crowns, so it seemed a pity not to use them.
Sidney, put your crown on straight please, not over one eye. What have you got under your jersey?
That's not the place for a hamster, is it. Put him straight back in his little pen, please.
Sidney, which one have you got, Paddington or Harold Wilson?
Well, who's got Paddington?
Neville, put him back at once.
Poor Paddington and Harold Wilson, it isn't very Christmassy for them under your jersey.
Sidney, I think it serves you right if Harold Wilson bit you, and don't bite him back.
Because he's smaller than you are. Are you bleeding?
Then don't make such a fuss.
Cliff, put your crown on, please.
It's too big? Let's see. Ah, yes it is
Where are you! Oh, there you are! Nice to see you again! Change with Nikolas.
Nikolas, you can manage a big crown, can't you? You've got just the ears for it.
I think if you pull your ears down a bit that will hold it up. And lean back a bit. That's it.
Stay like that, dear. Don't move.
Wise Men and Kings, don't muddle yourselves with each other.
Now then, Shepherds.
Jimmy, you are my First Shepherd and not a racing car.
Yes, Caroline, you're a shepherd.
No, dear you can't wear your Little Bo-Peep costume because there aren't any little girl shepherdesses in our play. They're all boy shepherds, and you are a girl being a boy shepherd.
Yes, it is rotten. But we just have to settle for it. I think if you are very good perhaps you can wear a lovely grey beard; wouldn't that be fun?
George, what do Wise Men never do?
Jimmy, do you remember what you see up in the sky? Something lovely, isn't it?
No, not a baby. Try again.
It's a lovely silver star, and you are going to put your hand up and point to it. And what are you going to say when you do that?
No, Sidney, he isn't going to say, 'Please may I go to the bathroom?'
Children, that isn't funny; it's a perfectly natural function, and we might as well get used to it.
Come on, Jimmy. You are going to say, 'Behold!' aren't you?
Yes, you are, dear. You said it yesterday.
You'd rather say it tomorrow?
Perhaps you are right.
We have broken the back of the play, so you may as well get ready to go home. Hand in your crowns gently, please. No Sidney, you can't wear your crown home on the bus.
I think - I HOPE it will be all right on the night. But you know, Mrs Binton, I think perhaps next year we might make do with a Christmas carol.

Thursday, 2 December 2010


Dec 25

My dearest darling Edward,

What a wonderful surprise has just greeted me! That

sweet partridge, in that lovely little pear-tree; what

an enchanting, romantic, poetic present! Bless you, and

thank you.

Your deeply loving


Dec 26

Beloved Edward,

The two turtle-doves arrived this morning, and are cooing

away in the pear-tree as I write. I'm so touched and grateful!

With undying love, as always,


Dec 27

My darling Edward,

You do think of the most original presents! Who ever

thought of sending anybody three French hens? Do they

really come all the way from France? It's a pity we have

no chicken coops, but I expect we'll find some. Anyway,

thank you so much; they're lovely.

Your devoted Emily.

Dec 28

Dearest Edward,

What a surprise! Four calling birds arrived this morning.

They are very sweet, even if they do call rather loudly -

they make telephoning almost impossible - but I expect they'll

calm down when they get used to their new home. Anyway, I'm

very grateful, of course I am.

Love from Emily.

Dec 29

Dearest Edward,

The mailman has just delivered five most beautiful gold

rings, one for each finger, and all fitting perfectly!

A really lovely present! Lovelier, in a way, than birds,

which do take rather a lot of looking after. The four that

arrived yesterday are still making a terrible row, and I'm

afraid none of us got much sleep last night. Mother says

she wants to use the rings to "wring" their necks. Mother

has such a sense of humour. This time she's only joking,

I think, but I do know what she means. Still, I love the rings.

Bless you,


Dec 30

Dear Edward,

Whatever I expected to find when I opened the front door

this morning, it certainly wasn't six socking great geese

laying eggs all over the porch. Frankly, I rather hoped

that you had stopped sending me birds. We have no room

for them, and they've already ruined the croquet lawn.

I know you meant well, but let's call a halt, shall we?



Dec 31


I thought I said NO MORE BIRDS. This morning I woke

up to find no more than seven swans, all trying to get

into our tiny goldfish pond. I'd rather not think what's

happened to the goldfish. The whole house seems to be

full of birds, to say nothing of what they leave behind

them, so please, please, stop!

Your Emily.

Jan 1

Frankly, I prefer the birds. What am I to do with eight?

milkmaids? And their cows! Is this some kind of a joke?

If so, I'm afraid I don't find it very amusing.


Jan 2

Look here, Edward,

This has gone far enough. You say you're sending me

nine ladies dancing. All I can say is, judging from the

way they dance, they're certainly not ladies. The village

just isn't accustomed to seeing a regiment of shameless

viragos, with nothing on but their lipstick, cavorting

round the green, and it's Mother and I who get the blame.

If you value our friendship, which I do (less and less),

kindly stop this ridiculous behaviour at once!


Jan 3

As I write this letter, ten disgusting old men are

prancing up and down all over what used to be the garden,

before the geese and the swans and the cows got at it.

And several of them, I have just noticed, are taking

inexcusable liberties with the milkmaids. Meanwhile the

neighbours are trying to have us evicted. I shall never

speak to you again.


Jan 4

This is the last straw! You know I detest bagpipes!

The place has now become something between a menagerie

and a madhouse, and a man from the council has just

declared it unfit for habitation. At least Mother has

been spared this last outrage; they took her away yesterday

afternoon in an ambulance.

00 I hope you're satisfied.

Jan 5


Our client, Miss Emily Wilbraham, instructs me to

inform you that with the arrival on her premises at 7:30

this morning of the entire percussion section of the

Boston Symphony Orchestra, and several of their friends,

she has no course left open to her but to seek an injunction

to prevent you importuning her further. I am making

arrangements for the return of much assorted livestock.

I am, Sir, yours faithfully,

G. Creep

Attorney at law.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The final visit from Saint Nick

‘Twas the night before Christmas and one thing was clear--
that old Yuletide spirit no longer was here
inflation was rising; the crime rate was tripling;
the fuel bills were up, and our mortgage was crippling;
I opened a beer as I watched TV,
where The Saturday sang "Silent Night" quite badly;
the kids were in bed, getting sleep like they should;
or else they were stoned, which was almost as good.
While Ma with her ball-point was making a fuss
'bout folks we'd send cards to who'd sent none to us;
"Those ingrates," she thundered, and pounded her fist;
"Next year you can bet they'll be crossed off our list!"
When out in the yard came a deafening blare;
'twas our burglar alarm, and I hollered, "Who's there?"
I turned on the searchlight, which lit up the night,
and, armed with my handgun, beheld a strange sight.
Some red-suited clown with a white beard immense
was caught in our eight foot electrified fence;
he called out, "I'm Santa! I bring you no malice!"
Said I, "if you're Santa, I'm Telly Savalas!"
But, lo, as his presence grew clear to me,
I saw in the glare that it just might be he!
I called off our Doberman clawing his sleigh
and, frisking him twice, said, "I think he's ok."
I led him inside where he slumped in a chair,
and he poured out the following tale of despair;
"On Christmas eves past I was jolly and chuckling,
but now 'neath the pressures, I fear I am buckling."
"You'll note I've arrived with no reindeer this year,
and without them, my sleigh is much harder to steer;
although I would like to continue to use them,
the wildlife officials believe I abuse them."
"To add to my problem, Norman Baker dropped by
and told me my sleigh was unsafe in the sky;
I now must wear seatbelts, despite my objections,
and bring in the sleigh twice a year for inspections."
"Last April my workers came forth with demands,
and I soon had a general strike on my hands;
I couldn't afford to pay unionized elves,
so the missus and I did the work ourselves."
"And then, later on, came additional trouble--
an avalanche left my fine workshop in rubble;
my building insurance was worthless, because
they had shrewdly slipped in a' no avalanche' clause."
"And after that came an business tax audit;
the government claimed I was out to defraud it;
they finally nailed me for 65 grand,
which I paid through the sale of my house and my land."
"And yet I persist, though it gives me a scare
flying blind through the blanket of smog in the air;
not to mention the hunters who fill me with dread,
taking shots at my sleigh as I pass overhead."
"My torn-up red suit, and these bruises and swellings,
I got fighting muggers in multiple dwellings.
And if you should ask why I'm glowing tonight,
it's from flying too close to a nuclear site."
He rose from his chair and he heaved a great sigh,
and I couldn't help notice a tear in his eye;
"I've tried," he declared, "to reverse each defeat,
but I fear that today I've become obsolete."
He slumped out the door and returned to his sleigh,
and these last words he spoke as he went on his way;
"no longer can I do the job that's required;
if anyone asks, just say,' Santa's retired!'".

Monday, 29 November 2010

Now there’s a thing!

With the festive season looming menacingly on the horizon, I have a plan to post some vaguely Yule based stuff. I don’t doubt that a fair amount will be nicked from the Interweb but with luck it will bring a smile to my loyal reader. In the mean time you’ll have to settle for my usual drivel.

I was at the shop on Saturday, I played a young lad who certainly had a good understanding of the rules, but his tactics were a little lacking. Although he gave me a tough game, Space Marines v Necrons, I managed to secure a victory, only just mind. I’m sure that with a little direction he will get a grasp of playing to win, after all that is why we play the game, although we try to have fun on the way to victory. I honestly do believe that playing a game where both players enjoy the time is much better that gloating every time a squad is removed from play. I make a point of congratulating any opponent when they pull a kill point out of the bag, no matter how lucky they are. I feel that if the person I play against hasn’t had a good time playing then I’m doing things wrong, especially for the younger players.

When I got home on Saturday I came back to a very excited Trudes, she was desperate to get the Christmas tree up and decorated, well the tree was already up and with the help of a friend; it wasn’t long before the front room was looking very festive, huzzah.

Sunday was a quiet day; my sister paid a visit, oh joy! Don’t get me wrong, I think the world of my sister, but she does have a terrible habit of regaling Trudes with tales of my youth, most of which are somewhat embarrassing. Sandra left to see other relatives and Trudes and I settled in for a quiet day. I was surprised to get a call from my father, he rings about once a year and it’s nice to hear from him. He lives just south of Boston in the US and I hope to be able to visit him in the future. It would make for an interesting visit as he has children, which means I have two half brothers and a half sister. Apparently one of my brothers is very much like me with a similar sense of humour and a liking for all thing sci-fi. Who knows there may come a time when I get to meet them.

Back to work today, we drew the secret Santa, there’s a spend limit of £10, unfortunately I have drawn one of the more difficult choices for buying a gift, what do you buy the bloke who has everything he needs plus almost everything anyone else might need too? Although I’m sure I’ll come up with something.

My first festive post will be on the first of December, duh! There may be a post between now and then, watch this space.

Bye for now.