Twenty-First Century Santa…

Blimey, it’s Christmas Eve! My mince pies and sossidge rolls are all ready to go and the goose is ready for bathing overnight in a big bucket of fruity, herby, boozy brine – I’m ahead of the game for once! Here’s a little bit of fiction I wrote for the Tunbridge Wells Writers Christmas Countdown. I hope you enjoy it, but even if you don’t have a Very Merry Christmas and Wonderful New Year anyway! x 

TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY SANTA

The street is silent, the early darkness and biting cold keeping people inside their homes. The shower of snowflakes falling from the sky is too light to lay; the flakes melt on impact with the ground. The grey paving slabs of the footpath and black asphalt road surface glisten with reflected light from the yellow street lamps. If the gritters aren’t out tonight the roads will be treacherous by morning.

kiplingA white van turns into the street, its headlights illuminating posters in the windows of the corner shop. Quality Street are five quid a tub for this week only, and Mr Kipling’s deep-filled mince pies are only ninety-nine pee for a pack of six. There are wines on special offer too, and there’s a lottery draw this weekend guaranteed to make four lucky winners millionaires.

The van passes the corner shop and pulls over to the kerb outside of number eighty-six. The driver sits for a moment watching the snow dancing in his headlights. He smiles, his lips, red from the cold, almost concealed behind his curly white moustache and beard. He turns off the headlights and cuts the engine then opens the door and steps out onto the road. Continue reading “Twenty-First Century Santa…”

A Smashing Christmas…

… and a smashing present.

I posted this on the Tunbridge Wells Writers’ website yesterday as part of our Christmas Countdown, so if it seems familiar that’ll be why. Today’s post, however, includes an ‘Easter Egg’ in the form of a crappy seasonal Clerihew at the bottom, which I forgot to put in my last post here. Enjoy! 

It’s difficult in these days of Mp3 mass storage and unlimited music streaming to comprehend just how desirable a bottom-of-range compact cassette recorder might have been to a twelve-year old cahnsil estate oik in the early 1970s. Imagine today’s average twelve-year old unwrapping their first ever i-phone and multiply it by a factor of around a million, then throw in an X-box1 for good measure and you might be getting somewhere close. But probably not, because twelve-year olds today are already likely to be on their fourth or fifth generation smartphone, and will have regarded ownership of such items as a god-given right rather than a privilege from the time they lost their first milk tooth. Spoilt little buggers.

casseteBut I digress: In 1973 I would have sold my granny to sex-traffickers to get my hands on a cassette recorder, and thrown in my granddad too, had he still been living, for the price of a triple-pack of blank C60s and a set of spare batteries.

My dreams were almost answered in December 1972. I had been pleading miserably (shush!) for a tape-recorder since my birthday in August (when I had received nothing grander than a cheap kite), and had convinced myself that said pleading had “incentivised” mum into borrowing the necessary monies from our tallyman, Mr Pither, to procure it for me. Imagine my shock and dismay, then, on discovering on Christmas morning that the daft old bat had instead invested my present money in a poxy little second-hand reel-to-reel recorder on the advice of a “family friend”. That the “friend” was the person selling the reel-to-reel – probably to fund the purchase of a proper cassette for their own offspring – was an implication lost on my mother, but an oversight she would rue throughout the entire Christmas period and for at least six months of the following year. Continue reading “A Smashing Christmas…”