Young James has a fantastic new toy for Christmas. It’s half truck, half dinosaur - and it takes orders. It asks “What do you want me to do?” in a monster-ish voice and you can tell it to “Move
Forward” or “Move Back” or “Fire the Drill.” What is more, it obeys! I wish Mr B was even half as biddable...
be too polite to it, we find. Young James and brother Sam tend to phrase their orders rather too sweetly: “Please Mr Truck, will you move forward” brings no response at all, just a rather puzzled growl of “I am waiting for my orders”
from the dinotruck (as I shall call it from now on.) But when I roar “Move Forward” in my most authoritative voice – the one I save for chasing off our resident squirrel when it climbs to the top of our bird feeder to help himself to the
goodies - the dinotruck skids across the kitchen floor. In doing so it scares Baby Morgan into dropping several plastic pigs which he has secretly purloined from the board game “Go, Piggy, Go” which is set out on the table, ready
to be played when we stop ordering the dinotruck around..
The dinotruck was far too big to fit in a Christmas sack, so was found under the Christmas tree. However
Santa did deposit in the boys’ sacks two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles complete with weapons secreted in the shells on their backs. I don’t know a lot about the Ninja Turtles so I request more background information. Five year old James tells
me that they live in a house which has satnav to inform them when the “bad guys” will be arriving. He is a little less than specific about who, what and where these “bad guys” are. I ask if they, too, have satnav. James rolls his eyes
and tells me, patiently, that only the Ninja Turtles are so-equipped.
“It helps their accuracy,” explains Sam.
“What’s accuracy?” asks James.
“It’s another word for precision,”
“Oh,” says James, clearly none the wiser but not prepared to admit it.
Christmas Dinner arrives on the table piping hot. I tell the Darling Daughter in Law that this is the test of a good Christmas Dinner and she has passed with flying colours. Once we have all cleared our plates we remember that
the parsnips are still in the oven. That is another unwritten rule of Christmas dinner – that there is always one dish which fails to make it to the table for one reason or another. Even without the parsnips, dinner is delicious. There are
some left over vegetables, mostly because, ignoring wifely advice, My Boy peeled more potatoes, carrots and sprouts than we were ever going to eat. This means, I tell them, that tomorrow we can have hooshmi, another great Christmas tradition. Some people call
it “bubble and squeak” but my dear Mum used to tell us that it was a favourite dish in the Royal Family who always called it hooshmi. Not that we had any Royal pretensions, I hasten to add, but if it was good enough for the Queen it was good enough
When the boys are in bed, worn out after a day of festive fun, we eat sandwiches, drink port and play “Know Your Partner”. One of the
questions requires us to write down the names of ten artists, then compare our list with our partner's list to see how many of the same names we have written down. I expect you are thinking this is easy-peasy but, believe me, when you are up against
the pressure of the egg timer and you have imbibed a glass of port or two (or three), it’s hard enough to think up a single artist, let alone ten. However My Boy is scribbling away like a good ‘un, he appears to be having no trouble at all.
When we check our answers I find out why. He and I are doubled up with helpless laughter while our partners look on bewildered at our hilarity. Anyone might think, looking
at his list, that he is a clever clogs, with an extensive knowledge of fine art but I know differently.
He has only gone and listed the names of all the Teenage
Mutant Ninja Turtles....