X is for X-Rays: I recently fractured my ankle while running (hope to get the Frankenboot off for Christmas but jury still out at the moment) and it’s made me more aware of the silly little things (like crumbling tarmac on verges) that can trip us up and our own fragility when we do so. The Christmas holiday period is really just a broken limb disaster waiting to happen, what with climbing up on ladders/chairs/partners’ shoulders to hang decorations and dress trees, tripping over newly acquired toys left on stairwells, lugging furniture about to make room for party games and/or extendable tables, dancing and charades… And that’s without taking bellyfuls of alcohol into consideration – how any of us survive is absolutely beyond me!
On top of that there’s all the things we might accidentally swallow – Coins (Christmas pud); Keyrings (Christmas crackers); Shells (nuts, Lidl lobster); Date stones (dates); Board game tokens (Monopoly houses and pieces, Triv pie pieces, Miss Scarlet – the list is endless); Bottle tops and corks (alcohol cabinet); Bleach (cupboard under the sink); One of Aunt Mabel’s mince pies (Auntie Mabel’s house) – and any of these could necessitate X-Rays and/or MRI scans. And it goes without saying that tempers get frayed at Christmas too, and frying pans, coffee mugs and fists may present further hazards that need avoiding. Mistletoe is poisonous, by the way.
Keep safe and well this Christmas, eh? And if you can’t be good be careful. Don’t have nightmares…
X-Lax: Do the right thing and stock up. You know it makes sense. Buy the generic brand, though (no ‘E’ on the front) – the regular stuff, if you’ll excuse the pun, costs a fortune. Get some Diocalm too while you’re at it ‘cos let’s face it, it’s going to go one way or the other once you start in on the cheese and crackers and play turkey roulette with the is-it-or-isn’t-it-cooked bird after the oven’s been on for six hours.
I’m not sure, to be honest, which scenario is worse – Montezuma’s Revenge from medium-rare poultry or the Biscuit Brickworks from a surfeit of Jacob’s finest crackers, but I would urge caution in the latter case with regard to laxative dosage. You may well think you’ve built up your immunity, but after a week of being bound up like a trussed chicken you’ll find that chicken coming home to roost with the New Year’s Eve Yuletide Mudslide. I think it’s Jools’ Hootenanny that finally loosens it up. Either that or Una Alconbury’s famed turkey curry.
Xmas: Don’t even go there. It’s Christmas. Get over it. If you really insist on X-mas then at least put a hyphen or apostrophe in (X-mas / X′mas), otherwise you should really be pronouncing it ‘Zzzmas’, which is patently ridiculous…
Y is for Yule Log: There are two kinds of Yule Log – the first being a ridiculously rich chocolate roulade (posh Swiss roll) brought out to great fanfare on December 25th and the second a steaming mud monster that appears uninvited in your toilet on or around December 27th. The two are probably closely connected.
What is truly magical about these twin events is that nobody witnesses the disappearance of the last slice of the former or the arrival of the latter. They are both, like the appeal of comedian celebrity bog-eyed tosspot Russell Howard to teenage boys, complete and utterly baffling mysteries, worthy of the attention of Arthur C. Clarke himself. The presence of an autistic teenager in the house dramatically increases the chances of a visitation from Yule Log II, but nobody quite knows why.
The roulade log is a delight to behold and universally celebrated, its creamy ganache centre and fluted chocolate butter-cream “bark” the stuff that Christmas dreams are made of. The bog log, on the other hand, is an abomination, and while it holds its own strange fascination (dare you look? dare you not?) its appeal is short lived. If you are fortunate enough to have a downstairs and upstairs loo it can be left unattended for days in the hope that it will, like the carcass of a decaying whale brought in by the tide, break up under the force of its own mass and the influence of incoming waves, but it is more likely that at some point some brave soul (probably dad) will have to have at it with a stick or perhaps a fish slice. Taking a hand whisk to it is probably not a good idea. ‘I’m going in now. I may be gone some time…’
Yorkshire Puddings: Yes or no? As a traditionalist I don’t think Yorkie Puds have any place on the Christmas dining table, but times change, and since Aunt Bessie et al got in on the act with frozen batter blobs that only take a minute or two to reheat the puffy little buggers have started popping up all over the place. On the one hand I despise frozen YP’s – almost as much but not quite as much as I hate the concept of ‘instant’ batter mixes for people who are too stupid to beat an egg, some flour and some milk together successfully – but I will concede their usefulness in a last-minute ‘not quite enough on the plate’ scenario. If you feel you need ‘em, go for it, but if you’re going to why not go the whole hog and bin the Bessies in favour of some proper homemade ones? Just make sure your fat’s really smokin’ from the outset and don’t open the oven door mid-rise.
Z is for Zulu: When we had just four TV channels Zulu, along with The Great Escape and The Sound of Music were staple fillers for that late morning / early afternoon we-need-a-cheap-but-popular-film slot. As the home Video and DVD rental markets took off programming executives realised they had to up their game even in these deadzone timeslots if they wanted to pull in enough viewers to attract advertising revenue or justify TV license increases, and the films disappeared to be replaced with cheap game show specials. Now, thanks to satellite and cable TV, there are actually more channels than there are films, and the entire output from the moving picture industry from 1887 onwards will be available to watch online somewhere in the Christmas schedule. Which is great if you’re a Zulu, Great Escape or Sound of Music fan. I’m not, but expect I will find something on Netflix to fill the gap.
Our alphabet is almost done
This entry is the final one
All letters spent from A to Zed*
And so, at last, it’s time for bed…
*Alternative version for American readers*
Our alphabet is almost done
This entry is the final one
All letters spent from A to Zee
And so, at last, it’s bed for me…
IN OTHER NEWS: If you’ve read this far it would seem churlish of me not to include you on our Christmas Card list. Here’s the card ben and I wasted an afternoon making a couple of days ago: