I asked my new friend Bill if he would like to borrow Mr B's red jumper. Bill is the latest member of our Singing for Pleasure choir and so it occurred to me that he might not yet have got around to buying our choir "uniform"
of black trousers and red top. Bill was very grateful for my kind offer but said not to worry, he had the Red Jumper Business well and truly sorted. He had a twinkle in his eye as he made this assurance.
I discovered why when I turned up for our performance at the community centre Christmas Fair last weekend. Regular readers will now be saying that I have already written about this Less Than Epic event and am I starting to forget things, now that I
have reached A Great Age? The fact is, I did remember I had already written about our performance, but I neglected to tell you about Bill's jumper. I am sure your excitement now Knows No Bounds.
was bright red, so perfectly in keeping with the rest of us. On the front a large white arrow pointing upwards towards his face and the message: "This is my Christmas smile!" Well, it made me grin. I wasn't quite sure what our Conductor, the Redoubtable Muriel,
would make of it but she was perfectly relaxed, all things considering. Mind you with all the trials that beset our performance (see previous blog) Bill's jumper was the very least of her worries.
made me think about the fact that I still don't own a Christmas jumper. They are fast becoming a seasonal tradition aren't they?; every year for the last three years I have determined to buy one, only to fall at the last hurdle. In other words, I arrive at
Christmas Eve, jumper-less.
I think perhaps I am altogether too choosy. I am not sure, for example, that I could carry off a jumper like that of another friend of mine which has an over-size deer on the front
with "Bambi" scrawled beneath in silvery letters. Though (I say, hastily) she looked perfectly lovely wearing it. Last year, I thought I had found "just the ticket" as my dear Mum would have said - a rather elegant jumper with two stylish robins on the front.
Then, when I went to buy it, I found it wasn't stocked in my size. I was so disappointed that I stopped looking for another until, once again, I realised it was Christmas Eve - and too late. Mr B is not at all enthusiastic about my Christmas Jumper Crusade
- I think he is afraid I may force him to wear one too.
There's another relatively new Christmas tradition that I really can't get to grips with. It's that Elf on the Shelf. I gather it's been around since
the year 2004 when someone called Carol (a good Christmas name, that) Aebersold and her daughter Chandra Bell (which is similarly seasonal) wrote a book about these elves who hide in people's homes, keeping a record of who has been naughty or good each day,
then reporting back to Santa every evening. Honestly, I never knew Santa could be so, well, sneaky. It's only taken me twelve years to come up to date with Elf-Related Activity.
I do remember some years ago
visiting Winter Wonderland in Cardiff with my (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys and finding ourselves faced with a machine called an "Elf-ometer". If you were brave enough, you placed your hands on special touch pads and an arrow would shoot up a scale to indicate
if you had been naughty or good. I tried it out and I was classified as pretty good. My Boy, father of the Welsh Boys, on the other hand was diagnosed as decidedly naughty. As I recall, the young'uns, being Sensible Beyond Their Years, decided not to risk
Well, I'm sorry to everyone who has invested in an elf to sit on their shelf and spy on their small fry - but, I have to say, it's not for me. Not because I'm not up for a new tradition, and, let's face
it, parents have been threatening their off-spring for years with the dire consequences of misbehaviour on the run-up to the Big Day. The Spy, sorry Elf, on the Shelf is but another step in the fairy-tale we shamelessly spin at Christmas time.
No, the fact is I don't need an elf (whether on a shelf or elsewhere) to give a fearless verdict on my behaviour, to praise my good deeds and - rather more frequently it must be said - to comment on my many faults.
I have Mr B.