Well, it’s crunch-time for Rudolph. He broke out of the stable again last night and it’s the same old same old this morning. The vet’s been, and he’s booked him in at The Priory to dry out. Poor beggar, he looks so frightened. I’m feeling really guilty. I can’t help thinking if only I had done something sooner. It was different back then, though: we had no idea how serious this type of thing could get.
I remember the first time he tasted juniper. He was little more than a fawn really, only just starting to find his feet. He went down the woods with some of the older deer and they found the bush almost by accident. I guess deer are like people – there is a small percentage that have addictive personalities and it’s only a matter of time before they find their particular poison. For Rudolph, it was literally love at first bite; the taste, the texture – I don’t know what it was but he was hooked from the first mouthful. Of course, it never occurred to us that there might be after-effects.
Juniper berries, as you possibly know, are one of the main ingredients of gin. All you have to do is add grain, moisture and yeast, a little bit of time and a nice, warm, bacteria-rich environment for the fermentation process to take place. The stomach and slow digestive system of the reindeer provide all of those things in spades, of course… Within twenty-four hours of his first juniper pig-out Rudolph was feeling ‘comfortably numb’, and he loved it.
For centuries people have wondered about Rudolph’s shiny red nose. Well now you know the answer. Look at W. C. Fields. Look at Oliver Reed. Nuff said. Of course, back in the days before light pollution and halogen floods set the world ablaze Rudolph’s nose was a godsend for me. Instead of keeping him on the wagon I was actually helping to feed his habit…
Sorry, old mate. I’m really, really sorry. I didn’t know what I was doing. Over the years you’ve made the billion dreams of a billion children’s Christmases come true. I hope yours – and mine – come true for us this Christmas. Ho Hum…
Blimey! That was a bit grim, wasn’t it? Well I’ve just dropped Rudolph off and he seemed really positive when we left. We weren’t allowed to stay, and there’s a no contact rule for the first three days, but he’s a tough old beggar so I’m not too worried. Anyway, I thought I’d lighten the mood a bit with a couple of Rudolph’s favourite jokes:
Q: What do you call a deer with no eyes?
A: Granddad. (I ought to explain that doesn’t really work unless you know Rudolph’s granddad, but if you do it’s hilarious!)
Q: What do you call a dead deer with no eyes?
A: Still granddad (see brackets above)
Q: What do you call a Welshman with no ears?
A: No eared Dai…