Friday, January 1, 2010

Where did that decade go?

It only seems five minutes since the millennium was going to take out every computer on the planet…
Ten years ago I was on a beach in Lanzarote - toasting in 2000 by the glow of a burning surfboard… hang ten dudes.

Not my most memorable New Year - that goes to the time I was doing ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ in the West End, Darlings. Screaming Happy New Year to the rest of the cast I legged it for the station and caught the last train home. As midnight chimed, the British Rail guard came over the tannoy and intoned (in a voice that would have you dialling the Samaritans) “Myself and Derek the driver would like to wish both of our passengers a very happy new year…so…. er…. Happy New Year then…the next station stop is Tonbridge. Tonbridge is the next stop… Thank you.”

Oh the glamour…

Fast forwarding on warp speed, last night I said goodbye to the noughties and hello to the teenies watching Big Ben on tv. As fireworks lit up the London Eye the gargantuan puppy went barking mad at the sound of the more localised explosions. The better half rugby tackled her and I went to check on the sprogs. They had slept through it. Thankfully.

The kids are finally reaching the end of the post Christmas comedown. Not made any easier by the relatives departure. As the in-laws left the building, Christmas was truly over, leaving just piles of bed linen and empty toy packaging to remember it by.

I hate toy packaging.

Not because it overflows our Council micro bin – Living in the country we don’t have that problem. We have a bonfire. Well it used to be, thanks to the wet weather it is starting to resemble more of a compost heap. If it ever dries out I’m wondering if we should actually put a match to it. Any trapped methane could see it explode flatulently over the Sussex Weald. An extremely embarrassing way to check out, one that would no doubt make it into the ‘…and finally…’ section of the local tv news – which is not how I would wish to be remembered.

No, I hate toy packaging because on the one day of the year when you might just get away with a bit of a lie-in, safe in the knowledge your kids are too busy ripping apart packages left by Santa to bother you, they have to come in and blast on the light so they can get you to get the damn toy out of the box. An operation that needs scissors, Stanley knife, pliers, Phillips screwdriver, batteries and the ability to focus - all in short supply in the pre dawn Christmas morning after 4 hours kip.

It never used to be like this. Once upon a time Santa’s elves would make the toys easily accessible to all but the permanently bewildered… That was before the incident at the grotto.

It all started one Christmas morning some years ago. While Santa was luckily enjoying a well deserved lie in, one of the elves took Rudolph and the sleigh for a joy ride and got done for speeding by a belligerent copper who had drawn the short ‘on duty’ straw.

Santa had to pay a fine for having a modified reindeer and the elf was sent on a speed awareness course where he met a union shop steward who insisted upon coming back to the grotto to check out the elf’s working conditions. While the union rep agreed that Santa’s ability to bend the space time continuum did get around going over the 48 hr week, he would only leave if Santa installed CCTV so that random checks could be made on the elf tea breaks.

When the man came to install the cameras he was given the wrong ladder - a candy cane one. He fell, badly injuring his shoulder. At first he was frightened of making a claim but Lawyers for Yule got him compensation and made sure that Santa employed a safety officer - Elf Ensafety. The power went to Ensafety’s head and he is now quite, quite mad.

By Christmas morning, when he gets back from the round, so is Santa. Which is why these days he sees the New Year in on Easter Island, it being the last place Elf Ensafety, and irate parents sick of packaging, would think to look for him.

But, after a break, Santa will be back for more of the magic and so will we. After all, it’s the time of year to celebrate birth and like any birth; the pain of it soon fades leaving only the joy. In 9 months time we’ll start to think that doing it again would be a really good idea, conveniently erasing all memories of sleepless nights and dirty washing.

Happy New Year - There are only 358 days to go till Christmas.

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