Thursday, 24 December 2009


I keep going back in my mind to the Christmas when I was out of work and this pal of mine said: "Don't suppose you'll be having much of a Christmas?"

I said: "If I wanted a mince pie I would have to buy it on H.P. We will be out on Xmas Day because it is warmer out than it is in the house and I have promised the kids we will go to Curry's to watch the Queen's Speech through the window. Then we are going to a park to mug robins for their breadcrumbs."

"Not having a bird on The Day then?"

"Not unless I can grab one of the robins as we steal its breadcrumbs."

He said: "Why don't you nip down to the market just before it closes on Xmas Eve? They practically give birds away. Then," he said, "come to the Press Party at the Continental

So I did. I picked up a chicken with my last ten bob note and went to the party. Where I set up a record for drinking free scotch and eating vol-au-vents which was unbroken for many years.

Then this guest said: "Let's play rugby."

Another guest said: "We haven't got a ball."

A third guest said: "Yes, we have," and grabbed the parcel of chicken from where it had been roosting under my arm. Everyone but me applauded the skill with which the next guest, a rather showy chap, executed a back pass with my parcel between his legs.

I was less pleased than anyone when the next guest followed through with a drop kick. It was powerful, I will say that. It sent the parcel soaring across the foyer, out into the street, over the heads of the passers-by, to drop, perfectly positioned, under the tyre of a passing bus.

They were all very apologetic. The manager of the cinema particularly. He said he hoped the parcel hadn't contained anything important. I said, no, it was just a chicken I got
for tea on Boxing Night.

For the rest of the party I was a bit thoughtful, though I did manage to clock up a further freeloader's record of another eight Scotch and a round dozen vol-au-vents.

At the death, the manager came up and gave me a parcel."I hope you will accept this replacement with our apologies," he said.

It was a twelve pound turkey.

Which would have been nice... but we didn't have an oven at the time, just a gas grill. So we had to cook it a leg at a time.

FROM “FORGIVE US MORE PRESS PASSES”, published by Revel Barker, available at Waterstones and the Book Depository (free delivery, worldwide), and at Barnes & Noble and Amazon in the USA. Or on order from any decent bookshop.



 Health & Safety checklist for carol singers..

> The Rocking Carol
> Little Jesus, sweetly sleep, do not stir;
> We will lend a coat of fur,
> We will rock you, rock you, rock you,
> We will rock you, rock you, rock you:
> Fur is no longer appropriate wear for small infants, both
> due to risk of allergy to animal fur, and for ethical
> reasons. Therefore faux fur, a nice cellular blanket or
> perhaps micro-fleece material should be considered a
> suitable alternative.
> Please note, only persons who have been subject to a
> Criminal Records Bureau check and have enhanced clearance
> will be permitted to rock baby Jesus. Persons must carry
> their CRB disclosure with them at all times and be prepared
> to provide three forms of identification before rocking
> commences.
> Jingle Bells
> Dashing through the snow
> In a one horse open sleigh
> O'er the fields we go
> Laughing all the way
> A risk assessment must be submitted before an open sleigh is
> considered safe for members of the public to travel on. The
> risk assessment must also consider whether it is appropriate
> to use only one horse for such a venture, particularly if
> passengers are of larger proportions. Please note,
> permission must be gained from landowners before entering
> their fields. To avoid offending those not participating in
> celebrations, we would request that laughter is moderate
> only and not loud enough to be considered a noise nuisance.
> While Shepherds Watched
> While shepherds watched
> Their flocks by night
> All seated on the ground,
> The angel of the Lord came down
> And glory shone around
> The Union of Shepherds has complained that it breaches
> health and safety regulations to insist that shepherds watch
> their flocks without appropriate seating arrangements being
> provided, therefore benches, stools and orthopaedic chairs
> are now available. Shepherds have also requested that due to
> the inclement weather conditions at this time of year that
> they should watch their flocks via cctv cameras from
> centrally heated shepherd observation huts. Please note,
> the Angel of the Lord is reminded that before shining his /
> her glory all around she / he must ascertain that all
> shepherds have been issued with glasses capable of filtering
> out the harmful effects of UVA, UVB and the overwhelming
> effects of Glory.
> Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer
> Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
> had a very shiny nose.
> And if you ever saw him,
> you would even say it glows.
> You are advised that under the Equal Opportunities for All
> Policy, it is inappropriate for persons to make comment with
> regard to the ruddiness of any part of Mr. R. Reindeer.
> Further to this, exclusion of Mr R Reindeer from the
> Reindeer Games will be considered discriminatory and
> disciplinary action will be taken against those found guilty
> of this offence. A full investigation will be implemented
> and sanctions - including suspension on full pay - will be
> considered whilst this investigation takes place.
> Little Donkey
> Little donkey, little donkey on the dusty road
> Got to keep on plodding onwards with your precious load
> The RSPCA have issued strict guidelines with regard to how
> heavy a load that a donkey of small stature is permitted to
> carry, also included in the guidelines is guidance regarding
> how often to feed the donkey and how many rest breaks are
> required over a four hour plodding period. Please note that
> due to the increased risk of pollution from the dusty road,
> Mary and Joseph are required to wear face masks to prevent
> inhalation of any airborne particles. The donkey has
> expressed his discomfort at being labeled 'little' and would
> prefer just to be simply referred to as Mr. Donkey. To
> comment upon his height or lack thereof may be considered an
> infringement of his equine rights.
> We Three Kings
> We three kings of Orient are
> Bearing gifts we traverse afar
> Field and fountain, moor and mountain
> Following yonder star
> Whilst the gift of gold is still considered acceptable - as
> it may be redeemed at a later date through such
> organisations as 'Cash for Gold' etc, gifts of frankincense
> and myrrh are not appropriate due to the potential risk of
> oils and fragrances causing allergic reactions. A suggested
> gift alternative would be to make a donation to a worthy
> cause in the recipients name or perhaps give a gift voucher.
> We would not advise that the traversing kings rely on
> navigation by stars in order to reach their destinations and
> suggest the use of RAC Routefinder or satellite navigation,
> which will provide the quickest route and advice regarding
> fuel consumption. Please note as per the guidelines from the
> RSPCA for Mr Donkey, the camels carrying the three kings of
> Orient will require regular food and rest breaks. Facemasks
> for the three kings are also advisable due to the likelihood
> of dust from the camel feet.
> Away in a Manger No Crib for a bed - This is definitely one
> for Social services