WHILE going through the family archive, I found the diary of an aunt dated from the 19th century.
The festive season back then seemed even more hectic than it is now.
Anyway, here are few pertinent entries:
On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me a partridge in a pear tree. Which was nice. The tree was about 5ft tall and came in a plant pot. I’ll stick a fairy on top and t’job’s a good ’un. Have you seen the price of trees, this year?
On the second day of Christmas he sent two turtle doves. I suppose he was declaring his undying love but how many birds does a girl need? Apart from a turkey.
On the third day of Christmas he sent three French hens and on the fourth a courier turned up with four calling birds. I didn’t have a cage in the house and they were flying around squawking and fighting so much they knocked over the plant pot sending muck everywhere. And you soon get tired of a dove coo-ing in your ear when your antimacassar is an inch deep in bird droppings. Has the man no sense?
Apparently, his sense shone through on day five as he sent five gold rings. Why didn’t he send these on day one and forget the birds? As it is, I had to sell one ring for seed, wire mesh and a cleaner.
I do not believe it. It’s day six and he’s back to birds. Six geese a laying this time. I’ve locked them in the spare room. Oh no, day seven and what does he send? Seven swans a swimming. They’re in the bath. Going to the loo is a nightmare. They’ll peck anything.
You’ll never guess what he sent on day eight. Eight maids a-milking, complete with cows. The garden is a mess and those girls do nothing but giggle, then, the next day, nine ladies dancing turned up. Dancing! With the front path one big cow pat and not one of them wiped their feet when they came in. I’ve had to spend another gold ring to feed them.
My true love, my … Well. Jim Royle had a word for it.
On the tenth day of Christmas my former true love sent to me 10 lords a-leaping and you know where they are likely to be leaping with eight milkmaids giving them cow eyes. That Heidi in particular. And where did those dancing ladies find the pole?
It can’t get any worse. Can it?
I was wrong. Day 11 and that swine has sent 11 pipers piping. Eleven Scotsmen in party mood and kilts all telling the same old jokes about what’s worn under it. Nothing lassie. It’s all in fine working order. And the noise?
I had to spend two gold rings on beer and whisky.
Finally, the last day of Christmas and 12 drummers drumming arrived and joined in the debauchery. At least they’ve all got plenty to eat, what with the cows and partridge pie and roast goose and the rest. Me? I left them to it.
I’ve cashed in the last gold ring and booked into The George for a week of solitude and quiet.
Merry Christmas everyone … and a peaceful new year.