Christmas Eve –
From 4pm the streets are lined with parents holding children, cards and Christingle oranges.
From 5pm the last of the male shoppers troop beaten out of the off-licence or clutch their soon to be ignored last minute gifts.
At 6pm it is quiet, but
By 7pm the younger teenagers in short sleeves and bravado are tripping from mates’ houses to unsuccessful attempts at getting served. This sharpens the barstaff for the influx of the lads and the laydeez from 8pm onwards.
9pm and the chains by the clocktower are full of testosterone, Top Man and Gio Goi. There is flirting and smoking going on in equal measure outside each one. The smaller pubs are full of the drinkers, divorcees, the unenthusiastic and those resolving to blank out whatever the true meaning is to them.
11pm Midnight Mass at St. James’ and hope is resurrected to a motley crew of the faithful, the once a year and the searching…
I am at hope frantically trying to tidy the house and slip gifts over which I have agonised under a tipsy and tiny tree that has failed to meet any expectations.
Like all good Didsbury Dads I have several concerns. Is medium the new 12? Is a 10 going to be perceived as inviting or inhibiting? Why doesn’t John Lewis sell Jo Malone? If I got a job at John Lewis next year then the money I save on staff discount throughout the year would be better than wages. When will John Lewis take over the Pizza Hut vacated space in the village to stop that terminal trip up the A34 that always means you miss the 4pm Sunday kick off?
Didsbury son is easy. If it has a half eaten fruit on the side, is a DVD or something to cuddle it wins.
The cats eye me suspiciously as I bite through two carrots, the mince pie and shlurp the milk they had planned for the second I left the room. Didsbury fatcat brings in one last baby rat dislodged from the Metro building work as an offering (or a swap for the turkey I danced around the room with earlier). Skinny cat eyes me warily and gets back to her 18 hours a day winter sleeping regime. When FC and Rudolf come down they may be disappointed that the food has gone and the cats aren’t really bothered.