Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas 2013

Come on you can do this. You've been to creative writing classes. You've had three books published and a shed load of articles. It's only a Christmas letter. What do you mean pressure? You've done this for thirty years. This is no time to hit the wall. It's not like taking a penalty in a World Cup final.

I know you never missed a penalty in all your football career but ask yourself, how many did you take? You didn't score them, you scored it.

Dear readers (by which we mean expensive and yes we have moved from first person singular to plural we do that, if it's good enough for Luke it's good enough for us), possibly you will have come across our Christmas letter before. You know how the film director doesn't always tell you everything in the first ten minutes and leaves you to relax and trust that all will be revealed. That.

So we were sitting in a bar in... Oh for goodness sake that was going to be a dull sentence. But actually it has been a pretty routine year. It's had its moments (show your children correct apostrophe use please). Mainly sitting in bars, pubs, inns, taverns, cellars. (Don't show them full-stop or verb use.)

Our church sponsored a beer at the Nailsea Beer and Cider festival and then we took advantage of sponsors' tickets to do a lot of sampling. The Rev'd James, in case you wondered. It good luvely nice more yes dear I'll take my dog collar off soon there ping off goes collar dog.

As our community had no sense of community we put a lot of church people-power into running the first ever Trendlewood Community Festival. The sun shone, the burgers sold out, the beer and cider flowed (spotted a theme yet?), the police dogs chased fake criminals across the field, we had a juggling workshop and live music. Classic cars appeared from garages on the estate. It scored high on the communing, communicating, communal... It were ace.

Shakespeare season at the Tobacco Factory gave us 2 G of V (with a real dog stealing the show) and Richard III (with a head in a bag dripping blood stealing the show).

As a response to being sent Jono as intern for a year we went to his home to say thank you and for Steve to preach for our friends Mike and Debbie. Morecambe is a long way from Nailsea. We had to give Jono back in September. Future interns welcome. Musical virtuosity optional.

Good year for comedy. We laughed at Milton Jones (brilliant audience control), Robin Ince, David O'Doherty and Bill Bailey.

No live music for Liz but Steve caught Dweezil Zappa (playing his Dad's music) and Steve Mason (ex Beta Band).

A vacancy in see (no bishop, to you and me) led to the future post-holder being referred to as Bishop Kevin. Much disappointment followed when Kevin turned out to be another Peter. We've had 1 and 2 Peter for the last few years so at least John, Jude or Revelation would have felt more systematic.

Those sentences that look as if they might be funny but aren't. That's the point. Steve likes the idea of jokes only a very select few understand. Hi Mum, by the way.

So on the basis of Liz's south-west area role for a famous homestore chain we would like to say that when the country was being divided up there were probably wildebeest in the North Sea. When she was area manager for the Thames Valley about ten years back she announced, using a joke her husband had written specially for her conference speech, that the hardest job of the year had been re-routing the Thames (given that the area included Fareham and Southampton). Tumbleweed is still blowing through that audience a decade on so hubbie was sacked as script writer and was therefore unable to crowbar any geographical jokes into the speech that reported on the south-west including Basingstoke, Chichester, Fleet and Tromsk. (Small lie in that list, did you spot it?)

Liz's bosses have as short a career as West Brom managers. The latest manifestation departed after several months of a style best summed up as confusing. It at least resolves the problem of said woman having the same name as a key member of our church and the wrong person getting a vitriolic email - or worse, her boss rotad to do the coffee at church.

Hubbie was also sacked as fantasy football team manager (is this a first?) when Aston Tilla recorded a record low score for a weekend given that the whole side was either injured, incompetent or West Brom. Sold Shane Long just before he went on a scoring spree and managed no points from the Liverpool Everton 3-3 draw given that all our players were defenders.

As we write junior 1 is on a Caribbean cruise with his girlfriend Rachel's family (good work my son) and junior 2 and girlfriend Carys are mainly running huge distances and being frighteningly fit and competent at it. Junior 2 did add to his collection of head scars by falling into a desk at work. The new one puts the ones junior 1 inflicted upon him with golf club and garage door to shame.

What do you mean these sentences are too long?

The lovely Andy, our next door neighbour for the past seven years, died in the summer. Steve was able to take the funeral at which, amongst a few startling revelations, we found out he wasn't called Andy. It was an army nickname that stuck because of his initials AND.

We bought a new tree that is not a crab apple, saw a mouse on the bird feeders and had the Red Arrows fly over although they may have been off to somewhere else.

Steve took up doing Thought for the Day for Radio Bristol and after about fifteen goes managed to be interesting by broadcasting from a lay-by on the A370 due to an accident up ahead. That was TFTD and traffic news. Since it worked he asked if he could do them from his bed in future. No such luck.

After about seven letters turning everything down Lloyds Bank agreed they had mis-sold us PPI. Have now received compensation for both the key financial products we purchased when times were hard. It's a complicated way of saving.

Our special friends this year have been Riverford Veggie Box deliveries, the Battle Axes at Wraxall, #SCD, #Eurovision (both these things better watched with the Twitter feed streaming) and two new Gozitan restaurants we found.

Liz joined Twitter and Facebook after years of moaning about how much time it took up. She works it in somehow. Amazing eh?

Hope you don't land upon your head and get sleighed, slayed or Slade. Please don't own a Christmas jumper. Ever. Hope you find this. The card list has been reduced dramatically due to laziness.