Who was it that said ‘retrospect’ is a thing of the past? Well it was me actually. By the time this goes to print all my memories of Christmas and New Year will be long forgotten. In fact we may even be back in France once more and enjoying an early summer, with lambs frolicking in the meadows. But as we spent the majority of our festive season in Rock this year, I would beg some forgiveness from you if some of it gets a short review in this column this month.
I am sure others will have already mentioned the exceptionally bad weather that the UK experienced in December, with our little cottage in East Scotland catching the brunt of the snow. The vision of the sand dunes a foot deep in snow and even snow on the beach with the waves lapping against it were somewhat bizarre to say the very least. But life goes on, snow melts, hangovers fade, VAT rates increase and the grass grows again as we enter a new year. Not that it’s over yet, that is very doubtful. Grandfather always said “never come March, never come winter” which I think loosely translates into “Local councils, don’t use up all your road salt until at least April if you want to get voted in again next year!”
While in the pub over Christmas, which seemed to be all too frequent, Wendy, my better half conspired with the locals that I warranted a haircut. I have to agree that I did, not having had one for well over a year. I had considered that March may be a good time, when the weather picked up and the French sun was shining. But I was overruled. Pockets, wallets, piggy banks and even whole bank accounts were proffered in the direction of charity, were I to have my head shaved, on New Years Eve, in a public Inn. And so it was, December 31st in the Rock Cross, that my ears were once more exposed to the cold. I would like to thank all those who donated money to Midlands Air Ambulance for this cause, particularly those instigators, Tony and Hayden who donated in excess of £100 each. Also a big thanks to Dave and Emma, the pubs new proprietors, for being such a sport. The final total raised was £825 for the charity and a woolly hat for me! I now have a chest infection verging on pneumonia which was possibly brought on as a direct result of this rush of cold air. I am currently bed-ridden as I write. Wouldn’t it be ironic if I had to call out the Air Ambulance to lift me to hospital!
I was not the only one to feel a sudden rush of cold air over that period. Whilst in UK we left our few sheep at home in France, to be overlooked occasionally by our good friends and neighbours. What I hadn’t reckoned on was lambs being born in our absence. Our ram had lazed about all summer, not showing any interest in sex during the hot days and as a result we were not expecting lambs until March. Well all I can think is that he must have perked up under the hours of darkness during July as two lambs were born to the world on Christmas day. To make matters somewhat worse, their birth coincided with an uncharacteristic bout of bad weather. A gambling man may have placed a bet on a white Xmas in Aberdeen at 3-1, Edinburgh at 4-1 or possibly the Midlands at 6-1. What he may have shied away from was South-West France at 400-1. But yep, that’s where it fell, 6 inches on Christmas morning. In hindsight, I should have bet our house on it, but then in hindsight I wouldn’t have entrusted this years lambing to two kind-hearted folk with no more experience in that subject than I have in brain surgery. I heartily thank Josie and Stu for their help in my irresponsible absence. Mary and Joseph are doing fine!
The other day I had a play on a Wii games console with an excellent new game where you got chance to shoot at flying turkeys on your TV with a special toy gun that was provided. Although the game was great fun I got round to considering that wouldn’t it be even better if the inventors added a few enhancements for this model which would allow you to shoot at actual TV programmes! For starters every time the adverts came on I would fell those two moustachioed 118 idiots and follow up by taking out that annoying singer on the Go-Compare advert. Now we’re talking turkey! And what about that stupid woman on ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’? The one who had a phobia about insects? Bang bang, you’re out of here now! And Ant and Dec as well come to think of it. I could flick through the channels and pick-off Anne Robinson, Jeremy Kyle, then that dreadful man on Strictly Come Dancing with the fake Italian accent. I could even put old Brucie out of his misery too. They would need to adapt a rapid-fire version so I could wipe out the whole cast of Eastenders in 20 seconds and I would finish with a highly satisfying shot into Jonathan Ross, just below the waist! Hours of fun from my own armchair. Some come-on Nintendo, invent the Wii ‘TV Assassin’ in time for my Xmas next year. I am saving up for it already.
Whilst on the subject of flying turkeys I would like to question the accuracy of public surveys. Sorry to pick on the Welsh yet again this month but a snippet from a survey was sent to me as follows:
‘ONE in five Welsh people believe that turkeys can fly while just over one in 10 are convinced the bird originates from Turkey, according to the findings of a new survey.’
Now the contents of this survey may be quite startling and slightly embarrassing to the Welsh nation were it not for the inclusion of the next line which says:
‘..the poll quizzed over 150 people about their festive eating….’
So that’s 151 people out of an entire population, hardly a cross section one must admit. But what it doesn’t say is who these people are or where they were? Nursery children maybe? Outside a psychiatric hospital per chance? Incidentally, I believe turkeys can fly too. Some can, cant they? They certainly used to in olden days before the got so fat.
During my spare time in the Autumn I penned a biography about my father, John Frazier, which I then gave him as a Xmas present. I was a little apprehensive about how it would be received as not all the facts were one hundred percent accurate. I need not have worried as he was very appreciative and even a little touched that someone had taken time to recognise some of his life achievements and present them in a readable way. However he was a little bit bemused when I said I might offer a few copies for sale. “Who would want to buy stories about me?” he said. Well it seems that quite a few people do actually and copies are going fast. All profits of the sale of this will go to Midlands Air Ambulance. Called “I use my thumbs as a yardstick”, the book is available online at www.andyfrazier.co.uk or behind the bar in his local pub, the Rock Cross.
Incidentally I just discovered that “dammit I’m mad” spelled backwards is “dammit I’m mad”. Does this mean that even dyslexic mad people have no excuse?