Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas 2010

One exciting thing about getting older is that bits which worked satisfactorily for the previous five and a half decades begin the journey to the grave. Step forward ears, cartilages and ankles. Explain yourselves.

Oh dear. Started the Christmas letter with health news. Sorry. There's not been much to brag about this year having shrunk a retail business and a church. One of us can blame a recession.

New readers please breathe deeply and relax. Trying to understand every last phrase is not time well spent. Keep going and allow a chuckle to escape if you think it should.

Another sign of ageing is that these Christmas things seem to stack up. Only last Christmas we gave you our heart and what did you do with it the very next day? What do you want now? Spleen? Liver? Why did the highlighter start giving all the text a yellow background just now?

In January we think we might have been to the worst panto ever; certainly since the self-penned Vicar's Nightmare in Mapperley 1985. In Cinderella at Weston-super-Mare Peter Duncan was the saving grace. Never thought we'd write that sentence. So bad it was funny. Was that the point? Oh no, apparently, it wasn't. Maybe the point was behind us.

Saw the rarely-sighted, white stuff down here. Not that Mum; don't panic. Everyone got terribly excited. A funeral reached the crematorium by calling in favours and borrowing about six four wheel drives. The coffin went in the back of one of those big Range Rover thingies. Liz bravely tried to get to work at the height of all this but after 100 metres the first bend in Vynes Way flummoxed her transmission. She stayed at home and discovered that her husband also worked really hard all day. Possibly because someone was watching. The last two weeks we have also had a bit of weather although Nailsea hasn't been closed like London-in-the-Marsh and Birmingham-on-the Wold. Some kids did steal the snow off our front lawn at 5.00 a.m. and made us a snowgirl though. Which was cool.

The local churches organised political meetings in which candidates were quizzed. Liam (Atlanticist, Thatcherite, monetarist, unionist, Euro-sceptic; oh how we get on) Fox out-smoothed everyone else whilst the UKIP candidate demonstrated that she knew almost nothing about virtually anything. Longest forty minutes of Steve's life as he interviewed her, mining away for a subject about which she could speak with authority. Struck nothing. The local alpaca farm had a poster on the gate saying 'Vote Fox.' Even the furry things vote for foxes. Sorry it is so posh here we have an alpaca farm. We try to spend more time in Iceland but it isn't a patch on...

...Waitrose, which came to town. This made us happy. We are simple, middle-class folk. They took over Somerfield and are desperately trying to retrain the staff as we write. Tell me again, which are the muscles you move to smile?

Twelve Easter window displays in local shops made a journey through Jesus' life. One of the bits of the journey was dismantled prematurely by an over-enthusiastic flower-arranger from Tickenham. People were left wandering Nailsea Town Centre asking where Jesus went. Not a bad Easter question. Limericks please. An enthusiastic flower-arranger from Tickenham...

We joined the 350 away fans for Clevedon Town vs Leamington FC who duly won 3-1 condemning our hosts and their 26 fans to relegation. West Brom got promotion, for one week were top of the family league, and may, possibly, not get relegated this time. Steve won't know what to do with a boring end-of-season. Learning to spell Odemwingie would be time well spent. Then there was the World Cup. Yeah. That's enough of that.

We enjoy theatre at the Bristol Tobacco factory. A Midsummer Night's Dream was excellent. Best improvised Wall we have ever seen. It's good when comedies make you laugh without hurting others. Writers of Mock the Week and 8 out of 10 cats please take note. Frankie Boyle was not asked to tender for this year's Christmas letter. We also went to an evening of beat-boxing at the old Vic, the Pet Shop Boys in Cardiff and Jon Richardson in Newport. So eclectic.

Trendlewood Church had its 21st birthday. We had a party with old friends and founders invited back. It was a good day but since then several key members have moved on and we've had to do some work on rekindling the vision. Still very optimistic. Better than misty options, as someone once said.

Having gone on and on about Gozo we finally decided to take our boys and their girls with us this year and had a, gasp, family holiday. We all got on, enjoyed eating, chilling, exploring, chilling and eating very much. Obviously some music had to come with us since the next generation and silence haven't been formally introduced. Our education in this area improved.

What's this great music Jon?
That's your LCD Soundsystem album.

A lovely meal at the most expensive restaurant on the Maltese islands was interrupted by a cockroach called Alan who, for no reason, walked up Ben. Meal was so good that didn't spoil it. The bill was a record breaker, not helped by six champagne cocktails before we even sat down. Well it was a celebration. Why Alan? No idea.

Previous houses and Christmas letters have had a theme of dodgy showers. One of ours (I know, we have two, posh again) began draining slower and slower until you had to time your ablutions so that the water didn't come up to the door level before you finished. Some nice local plumbers took lots of the house apart to solve this and did eventually put most of it back the same way. Water leaves as well as arrives now but the tiles in the other bathroom no longer match each other. Did get the lounge ceiling painted for nothing though. Then the ecological, ergonomical modern new boiler's condenser outlet froze.

There is a vacancy at the next door parish. Steve's small-print (providing extra priestly help in other churches) has been invoked four times in four years now for two vacancies and two sabbaticals. That should have been larger print.

Church weddings got a bit radical. At the 'kiss each other' moment Mark and Megs did high fives. Multiple best men became normal. Then Jill got married in white wellies and had Tigger the black labrador as a page-boy. The doings of black labradors have made our readers unwell over previous years but this one behaved immaculately.

Cargo opened in Nailsea, presumably sniffing the opportunity of cash-rich Waitrose customers popping along for a sofa to go with their groceries? On another occasion Liz was woken to the news that a manager had been taken straight into custody.

Manna is the new Bath and Wells Diocesan magazine. It is glossy, relevant and well written. Big up to the Diocesan Communication team says St with no sense of humility whatsoever.

Any chance of a dull year soon? Thought not. Must go. Need to sort the recycling. Even our non-compostable food-waste gets taken away here. By the way...

An enthusiastic flower-arranger from Tickenham
Made displays but the people kept knickin' 'em
So to keep up her purity
She installed security
Now out of a line-up she's pickin' 'em

Thank you, good night. St and Liz x