Monday, December 19, 2005

Christmas 2005

2005’s Christmas letter from the Tilleys. Don safety equipment. We had a friend called Don Safety-Equipment once. Stop making jokes it’s still the address bit. Sorry.

Christmas. Wow where did that come from? Why didn’t you say? Couldn’t someone have put signs in the shops or a few perfume adverts on TV? We haven’t finished writing the Halloween cards or taking the firework sticks out of the guttering yet.

Anyway the lines are closed. The votes are in and verified. We can tell you that the first member to leave the house was (with complete absence of gripping, televisual pause and emotive music) Jonathan. Davina refused to conduct the interview. Probably threatened by dead pan wit and satirical undertones (see 1998). The curse of articulacy, articulation, articulateness, whatever.

Jon got an honours degree. That’s a new one for our family. Closest we got to degrees was visiting the burns unit. Timed graduation in Aberystwyth for the middle of our holidays in Cornwall. Thanks. He then began heading for the far east. First stop; Exeter. Next year Prague, then Australia. Degree wasn’t in geography. Jon and girlfriend Carys have both done TEFLs which is a sort of non-stick language course.

Currently they live with Carys’ family. We have met them. Mainly normal. They are now on the mailing list so we’d like to record our gratitude. When we have people to live with us for a bit they tend to stay for at least ten bits.

Come on you Brakes. (That’s Leamington FC to you.) After proudly attending the promotion party at Easter (Midland Combination Premiership to Midland Alliance) we got to see them win a Precambrian FA Cup tie after a replay and penalties.

Back at the 23 year old reality-family experiment, Ben was voted out by the viewers, leaving Steve (L) and Liz (XLIX until January) staring at each other and wondering who would win. Agreed to share first prize and continue staring at each other. If a husband is a domesticated lover come home Mrs T and prepare for mess.

So Ben left home (again) after coming back to live with us for a few weeks in 2003. Official definition of ‘a few’. 117. He now lives with a nice couple called Kim and Ross and a dog who eats possessions. Forget hamsters and Puccini, Simon Hoggard. ‘The schnauzer ate my gum-shield’ is the title of the next Christmas compilation.

Ben went to Stratford races for his first meeting, armed only with cash and his friends. First race. £5 at decent odds. Two yards from the finish the leading horse decided to throw its rider into the crowd. This was Ben’s horse. Or was it? As the second placed rider came charging by they examined the almost-torn-up betting slips and discovered they had accidentally bet on the wrong nag. Which won. £30. An excited phone call after race five told us not-all-that-proud parents that he had won £85 on the last race which meant, wait for it, that he was only £20 down on the day.

Come on you Brakes. Still August. Win FA Cup Triassic qualifying round and hold tight for the next stage of the journey.

After seventeen trips to the tip and charity shops we now have two guest rooms. We cried when Ben left. We discovered it was only the weight of his vinyl which was holding the house in place.

Come on you Brakes. September. Win Jurassic FA Cup qualifying round after, guess what, a replay and penalties, and rewarded with a home tie in the next round. Take altitude sickness pills for this increasingly strained metaphor.

Had some decent photos taken for a change after special £25 offer of an hour’s shoot in local Venture studio. Can’t afford prints though. They won’t sell you copies only lifestyle display solutions. Try to obey instructions from the camera-woman to tickle each other without pulling faces. In just one hour Steve was told to stop frowning, cease scowling, forget posing and shut his mouth. Admit it; you’re all jealous of that photographer. Late news. Spent too much on lifestyle display solution.

Liz. ‘Can we do it every week. I’d pay £25 just to stare into your eyes.’
St. ‘Forget the studio; I’ll take the money.’

Come on you Brakes. Still September. Win Cretaceous FA Cup qualifying round 2-0 in front of the first crowd of over 1,000 for ages. Steve and his friend Chris decide that standing in the open end for 90 minutes of what is increasingly becoming known as the English monsoon season was not the wisest thing they ever did. Rewarded with a hot bath and an away tie in Ossett (Where? Oh Yorkshire) in the Tertiary round. Win 3-2. Brakes now have six games in hand on the league leaders.

Earlier in the year Steve played vicar for a bit which seemed to entail dressing up as Moses (don’t ask) and wondering why all his colleagues had left or were off sick. Ran an Ash Wednesday service in which everyone laughed a lot. ‘We know you’re trying to be serious but it doesn’t sound natural.’ Considering (very slightly) having a go at being a clerge full-time again. Can’t believe he just said that? Neither can he. (Voice from the heavens) ‘Neither can I.’ Managed to misspell the word ‘worship’ in the front of the church’s worship journal. Also started meeting up with people he met over the internet. Well just one person. Who didn’t kill him. May have taken over his body though.

Come on you Brakes. FA Cup first round proper, when some of the real teams join in. Two minutes on Match of the Day showed the 10 goal thriller. OK, OK a 9-1 drubbing by (not of) Colchester and the bloke who ran on to the pitch wearing a black wig and an inflatable woman when we scored. That’s Leamington for you. Still now they can concentrate on the Travel Factory Midland Alliance (yes really), in which they have nine games in hand. Oh, and the FA Vase and the Birmingham District Cup. Football’s big round here.

Liz played a game called ‘Where shall we open a shop this week?’ due to expansion of Cargo. This involves Travel Lodges and imagining ways to cause pain to electricians who seem amazed that lighting would be one of the necessary constituent parts of an opening day. Game so far played in Gloucester, Loughborough, Illford, Aylesbury, Didcot, Cheltenham and soon to come to a High Street near you. Buy shares. If married to an electrician, increase life assurance.

Do you take Visa?
Sorry, the electricians are on a break.

We paid someone to take the garden away. Now we must pay someone else to take the guilt away.

After many trips to the garage to have various dashboard warning light appearances investigated Vauxhall finally got to the bottom of the problem and replaced the warning light. If we don’t show up for a meeting we’ve probably broken down without warning. Another metaphor? Absolutely. Happy Easter. End of.