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The festive split



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In his weekly Ward's World column, John Ward discusses Christmas confusion...

I was thinking that Christmas 2021 would be better than Christmas 2020 but due to the glaringly obvious virus and its restrictions (and having been through last year’s) we knew more about this concept now thrust upon us yet again.

I had to admire the spirit and antics of some people. One said that he was leaving a bottle of hand sanitizer by the fireplace as he had told his children it was for ‘when Santa comes down the chimney to bring the presents’.

Columnist John Ward (53999060)
Columnist John Ward (53999060)

However slightly down we might feel, a sense of humour still carries on in some instances.

Another person has rechristened this festive time as being ‘UK-Xmas-2021’. It proved tricky trying to get any greetings cards with this stamped or punched on but it might be worth looking out for in your travels – possibly in the January sales.

I was wandering around a few charity shops just before Christmas when an assistant came in the shop to say they should ‘expect a rush soon in the DVD section’ if what she read so far in one telly ‘guide’ was anything to judge by.

Then, a few days before Christmas Eve, I possibly came to the rescue in a sense as I was able to clear up a dispute of sorts: two people were arguing over who wrote ‘White Christmas’ (as famously sung by Bing Crosby among many others) as one person said it was written by Charles Dickens while the other said it was ‘some other bloke’.

So being in a ‘clever clogs’ mood I explained that the American composer Irving Berlin wrote the song ‘White Christmas’ while author Charles Dickens wrote the book ‘A Christmas Carol’ that has been made into assorted films and plays and, in the process, brought such characters called Ebenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley, Bob Cratchit and his son Tiny Tim to us.

Once the ‘are you sure?’ bit was done by both of these wonderful unassuming intellectuals, I pointed out that while ‘A Christmas Carol’ was a work of fiction, the word Scrooge however has gone into our vocabulary as describing somebody as being someone who is rather penny-pinching or tight-fisted.

I explained that, as an example, many years ago we had an ice-cream van come around our area during the summer and he was nicknamed ‘Scrooge’ because if anybody asked for their ice-cream cornet to have a ‘dip in the hundreds and thousands’ topping tub, his dip amounted to ‘singles and (possibly, hopefully) dozens’.

Not to be outdone, one of these then said his parents had their kitchen floor covered in yellow and black coloured Marley tiles. Strange as it might seem, his friend and I both raised our eyebrows together on hearing that one. In fairness we both smiled and said nothing more as I then wished them both a Merry Christmas.

The Marley tiles bit would be the sort of thing my mum (of the people for the people) would perhaps come out with but I didn’t mention it as the mere thought of even more folk about with the same mindset was enough to send a shiver down my back.

The problem I have now is when I hear ‘White Christmas’ being sung by anybody or see the film ‘A Christmas Carol’, I am going to think of some tight fisted bloke who was less than generous with this ice-cream cornet toppings.

So, this lasting memory is not of festive spirit but possibly ‘festive split’ - as in between the two things: hearing the song or seeing the film due to me trying to be helpful.

Over the festive period, the internet had not been resting or taking it easy as the following nuggets might prove as I logged on to find assorted messages to greet me.

The ‘January sale’ seems to have kicked off early mere days, weeks in fact, as I was thrilled/dumbstruck to learn of assorted ‘early bird deals’.

One tool and machinery outlet was offering a ‘BOGOF’ deal for an engineer’s bench vice but, bearing in mind one should last years with normal use, why would you want two?

Another cracker was an offer of a ‘versatile state of the art car cup holder’ that also boasts a wireless charging point for your mobile device – how did we ever cope before? – but intimated it should be installed by a qualified tradesman in the write-up.

How about a box to keep your false fingernails in with its own built-in, rechargeable light with digital lock to keep them safe?

So the outlook for the New Year is looking rather promising. As we head that way as I wish you a Happy New Year - but do lock up your false fingernails.



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