Happy Christmas 2011

Do you know what my younger brother said one Christmas? I’ll tell you. It was back in my diving days when emerging from a dry suit in a tuxedo seemed to me the epitome of cool. Logbooks, snorkels and PADI paraphernalia adorned every nook and cranny.

When I’d unwrapped my present from my brother Jake – an underwater camera – his face altered from one of elation to one of mild embarrassment. ‘35mm?’ he said, scrutinising the camera more closely than when he’d bought it. ‘Oh sorry, Barn – that’s not very deep, is it?’ Delightful young egg, he is. And when he was nine, he asked, ‘Were the Romans before or after The Beatles?’

My point is that, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, I hope you’re with your family, being silly and enjoying yourself. Presents? Pah! Don’t stress about all that; in fact, our family stopped bothering with presents once young Jake turned eighteen. Ever since, there has been no pressure of getting the “wrong” thing or dashing round the shops on Christmas Eve looking for something “thoughtful” – instead, all four “kids” simply get together, make merry and talk bollocks. It’s wonderful just being.


Book token?


Would you like a quick little story to send you on your way in this time of jollity and goodwill? OK then. These few lines, essentially pinched but with a half-attempt at paraphrasing to skirt the plagiarism issue, are from a super book, The Secret of Happy Children. I’m sure the author Stephen Biddulph won’t mind, especially as I’m plugging not only one of his books but also another great read – Raising Boys. If you’re mad enough to have had children and haven’t read these books, my advice is to log on to www.amazon.co.uk asap.

Now here’s the story, which could quite possibly come as an anti-climax after the build-up – like the depressing inevitability of a Cliff Richard Single at Christmas. Only joking. Shut up and recount the topping yarn? Rightho. Put your tea down and cast your optics over this. True story (I hope):

A couple appeared in the Family Court to obtain a divorce. The man was 91, his wife was 86 and they’d been together since the year dot. The judge asked why, if they can’t stand each other, they’d stayed together all these years. ‘Because,’ said the couple, ‘we wanted to wait until the children had died.

Well, it made me laugh. Anyway, I’ll be back in the New Year with anecdotes from the road as usual. In the meantime, a very Happy Christmas to you all.

P.S. The last picture was taken while unloading at a gig. Anyone care to guess the venue? Actually, why not go for a double whammy – which town is in the distance behind my dad in Picture Two (taken last Christmas)? Click on the picture to enlarge if you need to..

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