Tag Archive: Christmas


After a self imposed exile, I have at last got four new pieces out which are fortunately all contained in one volume.

Winter Festivals is anthology put together by the Walsall Writers’ Circle which I am privileged to be a member (Actually, that reminds me, I haven’t paid my subs but in my defence, I haven’t been available to attend a meeting this autumn to do so).

Winter Festivals covers a wide range of topics such as Christmas, Samhain, Yelda, New Year and Diwali in the form of short stories, articles and poems.

My own pieces are:

A short story about ritual sacrifice in ancient times, titled – Burnt Offerings.

Two poems – Christmas Lights in November, and Christmas Cheer.

And an atheists observation – Christmas, Bah Humbug!

Saturday – November 8 at 1100, there is an official launch at Southcart Books, Lower Hall Lane, Walsall where I shall be reading Burnt Offerings (at about 1110). This is a chance to come and hear a selection of the pieces, speak to the authors and of course, buy the book. If you can’t get down on the day, you can buy the book now, either in print, or download the ebook.

Winter Festivals

Purchase Winter Festivals Anthology.

Cheers.

Nick

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Still harping on about Christmas.

I do hate it. Just for once it would be nice to do something I want instead of having to please other people.

December 23 - Bah Humbug!

Ahh, Christmas. A time when we should all worship our loving God. The same God who slaughters over 2 million of his subjects in the Bible. With friends like him …?

Take the nativity. Jesus is born and God sends a star to guide three wise men to bear gifts. Unfortunately, the star isn’t accurate and the men end up going to King Herod by mistake. So, having been sent the wrong way by God, the wise men blurt out the secret to Herod, thus instigating the massacre of the innocents. Hmm … Doesn’t sound very wise to me.

Dec 29 - Monty Python Wise Men

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Because of God’s misdirection, dozens of newborn subjects, waiting to be brainwashed into loving God, are murdered.

There is a moral to this story. If ever in life you are lost and in need of direction, don’t trust God, buy a Sat-Nav instead.

Merry Christmas.

And talking of Christmas presents …

Earlier this year I did a piece about a two inch Hex/Allen key which came posted to me in a twelve inch box full of polystyrene shapes to protect the metal object. Well, one of David’s Christmas presents nearly matched that for over zealous packing.

Dec 29 - Big Box for Small Item © Antony N Britt

There it is, a massive three-foot box to send a twelve inch toy train. And no bubble wrap … tut tut. It’s a good job my recycle collection came two days after Christmas.

And while I was shopping for the kids toys …

I’m glad my daughter isn’t into those bland karaoke singers from One Dimension (I mean … One Direction). If she was, she may have wanted me to buy her the replica dolls instead of the Gothic Dead Dolls she normally likes (Yes, I have children with strange tastes). However, while I was shopping for Clawdeen Wolf, Venus Flytrap and Viperine Gorgon, I came across the previously mentioned boy-band dolls.

Dec 29 - One Direction Doll in Shop

Ahh … I’m kind of guessing Liam is the minger of the band who nobody wants. I almost feel sorry for him.

And the picture of the week.

When I used to post on Myspace, I only offered one photograph a week at first. It would always be something I came across while out and about. This one I’m sticking on now reminds me of the ludicrous things I used to see.

As I was climbing the staircase to make my way to a coffee shop, I noticed elsewhere in the building there was a CD and Record fair taking place. However, half way up the stairs, after kicking some puppet frog out of the way, I noticed a directional sign for the CD event.

Dec 29 - Upside Down Sign © Antony N Britt

I’m guessing they hadn’t a sign which catered for the stairs turning to the right so therefore had to put this one upside down.

Only in Walsall.

A short observation.

Also in my Myspace roasts, I would have a piece titled, Knob of the Week. Okay, this knob was a couple of weeks ago but I haven’t posted in that time so I really should give one final award and hand it to Lord Hanningfield.

Dec 29 - Lord Hanningfield

Hanningfield has been in the news over the revelation he claimed £300 allowance for spending 45 minutes in the House of Lords one day.

Yet another example of the over privileged having positions of power in this country. In an interview, the Tory Twit stated he didn’t know what the fuss was about. He called it, “A storm in a teacup.”

Spending under an hour to earn £300, I’m surprised he had time for a cup of tea.

And a Happy New Year.

2013 has been the most difficult year of my life, and it had a knock on effect in my writing. As for the Sunday Roast, I hope throughout, people haven’t been offended by what I say. It really is, tongue-in-cheek.

I don’t actually dislike One Direction. I wouldn’t know their songs if they were blasting my eardrums. I don’t even hate Russel Brand, Sharon Osbourne or any of the other celebrities I’ve lampooned. Even the royals, I’m ambivalent about. So I’m truly okay with all I have a go at and none of the insults are meant. Well, apart from those directed at Iain Duncan Smith. He’s a complete cunt.

Dec 29 - Iain Duncan Smith

Farewell from the Sunday Roast.

Cheers.

Nick

Dec 15 - Christmas Card

Ahh … now I know Christmas is coming.

Christmas in my house would not be complete without the Stroods.

I imagine puzzled faces on those who have only read my Roasts over the last year. I shall explain. Mr and Mrs E Strood live a few doors down and over the road from me. Their house is one number different to mine.

The view from my window with the Stroods house on the corner and about the hundredth scrap van seen this morning

Since I arrived in 1997, I have had a Christmas card for the Stroods, wrongly delivered to my house from their friends, Betty and Bert. Now, how do I know it’s Betty and Bert? Ahem! I mistakenly thought it was for me and opened it that first year. Stupid, I should have known. I’m a miserable Bah Humbug bastard. Nobody sends me Christmas cards.

Anyway, the situation in my street is you don’t converse with your neighbours until the day they depart to a new house and then only if you’ve spent years nodding good morning at them. Therefore, every year I don the balaclava and mount a clandestine operation in the middle of the night to deliver the card to the correct address.

Now I know what you’re thinking, and it’s the same thing asked every year. Why the hell don’t I tell the Stroods and hand it personally? That’s just it. I don’t. Year after year, I carry out my mission. One occasion I got in trouble and set off two security lights, knocked over a wheelie bin and got chased by the dog. Then there was the year it snowed and I left tracks everywhere and had to go back with a brush to sweep them away.

As I say, I speak of this Christmas card every year as those of you who’ve followed me from Myspace will remember when the Sunday Roast appeared there. For people who can’t remember my roasts on Myspace – tough, you can’t see them any more as Justin Timberlake and his consortium erased all the blogs when they took over.

Back to the Stroods … and Betty and Bert. I always wait with anticipation for this card. You see, I get worried now. What if the Stroods move house and don’t inform Betty and Bert? Come on, in 16 years, they haven’t told them they’ve been sending a card to the wrong address, so it stands a chance. Then again, what if … what if … Betty and Bert … have died?

Nooooooo!

This was the major worry last year as (horror and concern) I didn’t get the card delivered to my house.

I was traumatised. Okay, there could have been the logical explanation that Betty and Bert had finally updated their address books, but come on, we all know that’s not likely.

However, I have the greatest pleasure to announce, yesterday. Saturday December 14, the card to Mr and Mrs E Stood – finally arrived … at my house. Its got glitter in it this year and I can rest in my sleep. At least I will once it’s past midnight and my in the dead of night military operation to deliver the bloody card is well and truly completed.

And a late tribute.

I know Nelson Mandela died over a week ago and he’s being buried as I speak, but I didn’t do a roast last Sunday so couldn’t comment.

I don’t think I have ever seen a person’s passing marked so universally with everybody I know, praising them.

When I see good folk dying young while scumbag tyrants like Pinochet, Mugabe and Thatcher live to a ripe old age, it reinforces my belief that there isn’t a God. However, here is one guy who deserved the long life they received. Below is a picture I posted over a year ago when he met David Cameron while perfecting the art of turning into a chameleon.

July 22 Chameleon Mandela

Yes, it’s a joke, but one I think Nelson would have laughed at as he did seem to have a cracking sense of humour. Must have done to describe meeting the Spice Girls as being one of the greatest moments of his life.

Dec 15 - Nelson Mandela meets the Spice Girls

Stormy Weather.

There has been some terrible weather in the last week or so and much of the East Coast has been badly affected. I saw one piece where David Cameron visited the oddly named coastal town, Wells-Next-The-Sea.

I feel for anybody in a situation where homes are ruined, but feel for the local council. They are now going to have to change all their stationery to read, Wells-In-The-Sea.

Bad pun? I expect to get a flood of complaints now.

More sights you see about town …

Last time out, I posted a picture of a shop window displaying what I can only describe as decapitated heads.

Dec 1 - Head (1024x579)

Well, I saw another one this week which stirred my interest. Monsters from Doctor Who.

Dec 15 - Flower Heads (447x1024)

Don’t believe me? Look at this picture from the 1986 story, Trial of a Time Lord.

Dec 15 - Doctor Who Vervoid

Hey, December 15 and I’ve only said, Bah humbug, once.

Twice, Damn it! Oh well, think of me tonight as I deliver the Stroods card … probably waking the entire neighbourhood in the process.

Cheers.

Nick

Humbug!

December 23 - Scrooge

And I mean that about Christmas. It’s all a load of nonsense. A marketing ploy by the retailers to get folk to part with cash they haven’t got thus putting them in debt. Having said that, I’m not being a total Scrooge, myself. I do buy presents, but the kids get those of a modest price. Teach them the values of life – right? And for something which is supposed to be a season of goodwill, I see very little of that. People fighting over the must have toys and arguing in the Frozen Foods at Morrisons. I even saw a group of Santa Claus’ engaged in fisticuffs outside a wine bar in the town centre the other day. And for what? No sooner have you wrapped the last present and hid them up the loft, Christmas Day is upon us, then Boxing Day and it’s all over. Months to get ready and the bugger’s over in two shakes of an old man’s beard. I mean, you can spend longer in the queue at Toys Я Us than you can cooking your turkey dinner.

And that’s another thing – Father Christmas. We spend all year educating our children not to talk to strangers and if a funny old man offers them sweets, they are to run and tell an adult. However, on Christmas Eve while Dad is covering himself in sticky tape and Mum’s got her head stuck in the turkey, your kids are upstairs, wide awake and excited. So what do you do? You go and tell them a lie.

‘Son, you know what we always say about not talking to strange people? Well, ignore it tonight. You see, a creepy old man with a beard and wearing a red suit is going to come into your bedroom, mess around, then leave again. If you hear him, don’t make a sound!

December 23 - Santa Claus Conqers the Martians

I don’t know about you, but he scares the shit out of me.

We’re still here.

December 23 - The End of the World

The Mayans got it wrong. As if it was ever going to happen. A lot of fuss about nothing. All those people talking about the end of the world like there was no tomorrow.

But back to Christmas presents.

Now what should I get for folk? A few weeks ago I told of the hideous cuckoo clock in the style of Queen Nefertiti. In fact, it wasn’t a cuckoo clock, it was a Queen Nefertiti clock. This week I had a look on the company website of the firm which sold the Queen Nefertiti clock, just to see if there was anything else which was as hideous and boy, I was not disappointed.

For £149.95 plus £9.99 postage, they are selling a 16” hand-crafted porcelain sculpture of Pippa Middleton

December 23 - Pippa Middleton Statue

That’s right. For an extortionate fee, you too can own a figurine of somebody who isn’t going to be the next Queen of England.

Pippa Middleton … Seriously?

Okay, if I don’t want to spend that much, I could look for a more budget buy.

I saw this in my local supermarket. A three DVD collection of Lance Armstrong’s career.

December 23 - Lance Armstong

That’s three DVDs for £5. Dear me, there’s nothing like a bit of drug taking and disgrace to get you sent to the bargain bin. Lance Armstrong for Christmas? I’d prefer to have Stretch Armstrong.

But talking of cheap and nasty Christmas presents …

The thing I am most grateful for at Christmas time, these days is that I am no longer related or obliged to have any contact with my ex in-laws. For the first ten years of married life, I only received one present off them. Having said that, even though I didn’t apply the same principles, I did try to get even. You see one year I was tasked with the duty of buying the pressies and I made sure I got the in-laws the cheapest, tackiest load of rubbish I could possibly have found. Hideous picture frames, hair curlers which would rip your hair to shreds … You name it, I got it. The thing is, it backfired. The in-laws had no taste. They loved the gifts.

After a while I stopped getting presents for them. Seeing as one half of them stole off me and other half knew about it, I used to think why bother? Just invite them round for Christmas dinner and they’d help themselves.

Christmas is two days away and I am worried about my neighbours friends.

Yes, no Christmas roast would be complete without the Stroods.

This year is the 16th Christmas in my house and without fail in the run-up, I get a wrongly delivered card to Mr & Mrs E Strood. The Stroods live one number higher than myself and are about ten metres down on the other side the road. The card is sent to them from friends, Betty and Bert, but it is always addressed incorrectly to my house. As a result, every year I mount a clandestine operation in the middle of the night to deliver it to the correct address, by hand.

IMAG0268

The view from my window with the Stroods house down the road on the right behind the hedge.

Why don’t I just tell the Stroods and hand it personally? Come on, I’m British. We only speak to our neighbours after spending twenty years nodding at one-another. The one time we communicate with the people around us is the time they move house. Then, and only then will we smile, go over to these total strangers and say, ‘Well, I see you’re moving, then.’

Year after year I mount my mission. One occasion I made a mess of it, set off two security lights, knocked over a wheelie bin and got chased by a dog, ending up in a hedge. Two years ago was really difficult. It had snowed. I left tracks everywhere and had to go out with a brush to sweep them away.

I was expecting to do this again but however, December 23 – No card.

Oh no! I’m worried about Betty and Bert. I hope nothing’s happened to them. I kind of got used to the card turning up. I’m going to be really disappointed if after all these years, the Stroods have finally told them the correct address.

Just done all my shopping and was asked that dreaded question.

‘Are you all ready for Christmas?’

Arrrggghh! Ready for what? I mean, it’s not like the world is going to end, that was last week.

Bloody Christmas. Scrooge got it right. Lot of fuss about nothing. Still, it is a time of joy and many folk are happy this time of year.

Yes … the retailers.

December 23 - Bah Humbug!

Cheers.

Nick

A brief note to all my readers …

There will be no mention this week of a certain event which occurs on the 25th of this month where the entire world goes mad over some mythical character, and I don’t mean the one in the red suit, either. I’ve had enough already and it’s still sixteen days away. Therefore, the other C-word is banned.

Think of the consequences before you pull a stunt like that.

This is what comes of our celebrity culture. You get knobs like those two Australian radio presenters – Mel Grieg and Michael Christian. They decided it was funny to ring King Edward VII Hospital where the future Queen Kate, Duchess of Wherever, was ill in hospital. Pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles, they were astonishingly put through by nurse, Jacintha Saldanha. After being given personal details by another nurse, the two presenters hung up. Laughed at how clever they were.

December 9 - Australian Radio Twats, Mel Grieg and Michael Christian

Mel Grieg and Michael Christian – smugly pleased with themselves for pulling their stunt.

The consequence has been widely reported. Nurse Jacintha Saldanha apparently killed herself, reportedly distraught over the mess-up. Now who is to blame? Yes, procedure totally failed. She did wrong putting the call through. However, when you play a prank, it is only okay if everybody else taking part is in on the gag, apart from the victim, and then have the victim give the okay for it to be broadcast. Did these idiots in Australia have the permission of the royals to be stooges in this stunt? No, and I can’t believe I’m actually defending the royal parasites I hate so much, but in this case, I have sympathy.

The knock-on will see the media will whip up a storm against these two fools now and we may not have seen an end to tragedy. It’s done. Hard lessons learned. Leave them alone as they have to live with the fallout.

The presenters may have thought is a harmless joke and wouldn’t have done this in hindsight. However, at the very least, they must have known they’d put staff in a position of facing serious disciplinary action, all for a few laughs at the time. As it turned out, the nurse couldn’t cope.

It is reported Jacintha Saldanha had the full support of her hospital. However, I know, as in most public sector organisations, the majority of hardworking staff are supervised by middle-management tosspots who’d be looking to lay the blame at any door apart from their own. So think on folks before you play a joke. What could be the result from a few minutes of idiotic actions?

And The Sun’s take on this …

Scummy paper, The Sun, commented yesterday that the nurse’s death was heartbreaking and bewildering. They have lashed loads of sympathy. But aren’t they also to blame? It is papers like theirs who create this intrusive culture and obsession with celebrities. If people were more protected from vultures like those at The Sun, then perhaps two planks on an Australian radio show might have thought twice about invading privacy. Instead, they reckoned that as the press do it all the time, why shouldn’t they?

May 6 The Scum

But what else has the Scum been reporting?

I speak about consequences of jokes and how they could backfire, but what about when it backfires on yourself. When premiership footballer, Liam Ridgewell had a snap taken of him wiping his arse with a £20 note in order to wind up a mate who’d lost a bet, he didn’t think it would be passed around and end up in The Sun.

December 9 - Liam Ridgwell £20 notes

No, I don’t want to post a picture of him wiping his arse, he’s already made himself look enough of one anyway. Now the butt of all jokes (sorry, couldn’t resist that one), Liam was branded by The Sun as being the vilest footballer in Britain.

Come on, give the man a break. He may have had a perfectly good reason to use a £20 note as toilet paper. Perhaps he hadn’t had his copy of The Sun delivered that day?

Liberal Demolition.

It seems the Lib/Dems are on the verge of extinction after being wiped out in three local elections the other week. Well, you can’t say Nick Clegg and his pathetic party weren’t warned. That’s what you get when you sell-out your own principles for fifteen minutes of power.

December 9 - Nick Clegg

Ah, Nick, no wonder you look glum. Having broken the promises you made after deciding to turn your back on all who voted for you and use their support to prop up the Tory opposition your followers voted against.

I have to admit defeat.

Not often I say that but for only the second time in my life, I gave up on a book after struggling to read 100 pages. We Need to Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver has sold millions and won awards. How? I couldn’t see it. Perhaps it’s just me. After taking ten tedious days of groaning at each page I turned, I thought it deserved no more of my attention. Very passive, lazy style full of needless waffle. 100 pages and bugger all has happened. It’s written in the form of letters from the main character to her estranged ex. If he had to put up with that all the time, no wonder he left and lives the other side of the world. I can imagine him hearing the letterbox and dreading. ‘Oh no, not another bloody one from her.’ Pages of his ex telling him their past. Er … he already knows.

December 9 - Corner reserved for crap books. © Antony N Britt

We Need to Talk about Kevin. Up the loft, waiting to be filed in the corner of books marked crap.

Back to an author I trust, methinks.

And following on from last week and the Simon Cowell observation …

Simon now says he can’t return to the UK version of the X-Factor without damaging the franchise on both sides of the Atlantic.

Oh, please do, Simon. Come back and destroy the show for good and stop filling our airwaves with bland generic karaoke singers recycling other artist’s crap.

Things that go clink in the night.

A family in Yorkshire had to flee their home after being disturbed by the clinking of cups as an alleged ghost, apparently kept trying to make cups of tea.

May 13 Ghost

The Doherty family left their council house after kettles were switched on and cups shook from their mug stand. Hmm, it’s always a council house in these cases. Looking to be re-housed, Mr Doherty? You think they’d be grateful. Why not leave all the mugs full of tea bags when you go to bed? Then you’ll have a steaming hot drink waiting for you when you got up in the morning.

That about wraps another roast …

And I didn’t mention Christmas, once.

December 9 - D'oh!

Did it, just then. Damn!

Cheers

Nick

A little festive message.

Following my post last week where I spoke about a house full of Christmas lights which Blackpool would be proud of, I can finally say one thing.

Dec 2 - December

Now … it’s okay to stick your decorations up.

So, what’s been happening in the news?

I know it was over a week ago, but the Archbishop of Canterbury said the Church of England has lost credibility after the motion supporting women Bishops was rejected. Credibility? I’m not sure a cult reliant on brainwashing kids from birth and filling their heads full of fairy stories with no factual basis has any credibility.

And talking of Christianity – or any religious nonsense, come to think of it …

I was reading about Two and a Half Men star, Angus T Jones, the other day. Haven’t seen the show for a few years but the once cheeky kid is now approaching 20-years-old. You’d think with the millions he earns (£200,000 an episode), he’d be happy in his life. But no, what does he go and do? He’s only found God and now proclaims the show which made his fortune is nothing but filth.

Dec 2 - Two and a Half Men 2

Angus, having a revelation.

Word from the wise, Angus. Don’t slag off the goose that laid your golden egg. But if you do have the courage of your convictions, are you now going to give all your immorally gotten gains to a church charity? Hmm … probably not. Hypocrite. It’s amazing how religion can make supposedly rational thinking people talk complete tripe.

Dec 2 - Two and a Half Men

Just thought I’d show a picture of the sitcom from a time before one of these actors lost the plot, acted like a complete moron and potentially killed their career. The other guy in the shot is Charlie Sheen.

The fix- factor.

I see Simon Cowell has been trying to contrive a result on his own show. He tweeted about X-Factor, last week.

Dec 2 - Simon Cowell

Smarten your English, Simon. UK should be in capital letters. Isn’t it up to the public to vote for their favourite, not for the ones Simon thinks will be the biggest star and make him the most money? Apparently, Simon fears a situation where he could have a poor result with some cheesy act triumphing. Heaven forbid. The last thing we want is another karaoke singer churning out bland cover versions.

Oh! Just realised. That is the job description of an X-Factor contestant.

And talking of rubbish TV shows …

I hate these celebrity reality shows, and non more than I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!

The hackles of dart player, Eric Bristow’s family have been raised this week. They want to sue the TV show as they say Eric had been badly edited and portrayed as a bully.

Dec 2 - Eric Bristow

What are they trying to imply, that the TV company has planted a double of Eric and ordered him to be mean? It’s a reality show! It doesn’t matter how much you edit something, if the guy’s said it, it has to be true.

Twits.

Mis-match?

Read a story about 72-year-old, Arthur Hughes who has ditched his wife to live with 27-year-old tennis coach, Sarah Douglas. Sarah’s mother isn’t impressed. She called Arthur, a dirty old man.

Rubbish. He’s a lucky old man.

A Christmas present nobody should be without.

Is this the tackiest ornament – ever? It was advertised on the back of a free magazine, and it can be yours in time for Christmas.

Dec 2 - Clock

Yes, the only cuckoo clock inspired by the wonders of Ancient Egypt.

The blurb says it plays an exotic melody (I bet it’s the sand dance). It also boasts Queen Nefertiti’s regal procession which actually (gasp) rotates around the base. And then (wait for it), the jewel in the crown of tat. Yes, on the stoke of every hour, a sculptured bust of Queen Nefertiti emerges from the centre of the mystical cuckoo clock.

Actually, it’s not a cuckoo clock, it’s a bloody Queen Nefertiti clock, but don’t worry, for an extortionate five installments of £25.99 plus £9.99 packing, it can be yours. Yes, that’s only £140 for the most hideous thing you’d ever want on your living room wall.

Seriously, do people actually buy these things? I reckon you’d have to be koo-koo.

And following on from the Jimmy Savile scandal …

It now seems former MP, Cyril Smith was a pedophile who sexually abused boys. He died two years ago yet was investigated in the 70s and the 90s on numerous occasions. Who allowed him to go unpunished and also, if his crimes were widely known before 1988, why was he knighted in that year?

It seems it’s not just the sex offenders who are guilty.

Charming treatment for a prince.

It’s normally The Sun newspaper I have a go at. However, this week, I saw an article on The Mail Online about pop star, Adam Ant’s current tour. Whoever captioned the photos in the article seemed to be full of themselves in the way they wanted to poke fun at how Adam struggles to fit into his costume these days, and that he is not such a Dandy Highwayman any more.

Dec 2 - Adam Ant

So – fucking – what!

Okay, Mr or Ms Mail Online Journalist, did you have three number one singles and an image instantly recognisable thirty years on?

No, I bet you bloody didn’t. Adam’s approaching sixty. Doesn’t mean you have to curl up and start wearing cardigans.

Adam Ant – Don’t you ever stop being a dandy. Ridicule is nothing to be scared of.

Let the festive spirit begin.

My decorations may go up in about two weeks time. I think that’s more than festive for me. I should begin shopping though. Now, who can I give that Egyptian clock to?

Cheers.

Nick

A worse horror than Halloween.

Last week I spoke much about Halloween, witches and the like. Well, that silly state of affairs is over now, but not so the horror in our supermarkets. You see, no sooner have the shelves emptied of vampire costumes and the last pumpkin has been gouged to pieces, a new terror is unleashed upon us.

Yes, I was strolling through my local Morrisons the other day, turned a corner, thus leaving tinned vegetables behind and walked right into it.

Oh no … The Christmas Aisle.

Come on, we’re only just out of October. And no, I wasn’t imagining it. I looked and there they were – rows of mince pies under the banner of Stock up in Time for Christmas. Looking at the boxes, I then saw the use-by date and noticed it said November 29. Now where’s the bloody point in that and how is this stocking up for Christmas? Your mince pies will be green and mouldy come the time you tell the kids about a fat man climbing down the chimney while also warning them not to speak to strangers.

Christmas. The season of goodwill to all retailers is upon us.

And while I was in the supermarket …

I made a fatal mistake the other day. I only had about half a dozen items in my shopping basket and was weak. I gave in to temptation and made a stupid decision in using the automated checkout.

Now I hate these things. I’ve never been the same since the traumatic experience of having an argument with one. It was when they were first introduced and I’d bought two books and a newspaper.

I’d scanned one book, then the other, only the computer checkout didn’t recognise a reduction in price if you bought the two together. Therefore, I called the customer service guy who rectified the fault. Then, before scanning the paper, I made the mistake of placing my hand on the bagging area.

‘Unexpected Item in bagging area’, the computer droned.

‘It was me.’

‘Unexpected item in bagging area.’

‘IT WAS ME!’

‘Please remove item from bagging area.’

‘I have. I’m dancing around the aisle now,’ I banged my fist on the bagging area.

‘Unexpected item in bagging area.’

‘Arrrgggh! IT’S ME!’

Another call to customer services and the guy ambled back with mild resentment and attitude.

Right, I was ready to roll. Scan the newspaper – Blip.

‘Place the item in the bagging area.’

‘I have.’

‘Place the item in the bagging area.’

‘I HAVE.’ Bang of fist – again.

‘Unexpected item in bagging area.’

‘Arrrgghhhh!’ And another call for customer services.

Don’t you just love automated services? But it doesn’t end there. Last week, as this picture will show, I tried again.

Sorry for the poor quality, but it was taken on my phone and at an angle as I didn’t want people staring. I hate to make a scene, you know.

Anyway, I’d scanned my veggies, newspaper and loaf of bread. However, I ran into trouble when it came to my French Bread Stick.

Yes, that’s it. Big, aren’t they, and one of a few items in a supermarket, impossible to bag.

‘Place the item in the bagging area.’

WTF? How the hell can you place a French Stick into a tiny carrier. You can’t. It’s not possible. Regardless, the machine wouldn’t let me move until I did so. Therefore, I touched the bagging area to try to fool it, only to knock my bag onto the floor, scattering all my goods.

Arrrrggh! Fume. Rage. I hate those bloody machines.

Then, the thing wouldn’t let me pay. It still wouldn’t accept that I couldn’t bag my French Stick so it locked the terminal and I had to wait for an assistant.

Christ! I’d have been served quicker if I’d stood in the longest checkout queue behind ten pensioners with full trolleys who all wanted to stay behind for a chat.

A checkout lady came to me, showing all the personality of an auditor on mogadon.

I grinned. Pointed. ‘I really hate these machines.’

She reset it, showing what it must be like to live without a sense of humour.

Automated machines. No wonder people resort to shoplifting.

A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse.

A few months ago, I told the tale of a car park in Leicester which is supposedly the final resting place of King Richard III. The car park was built on the site of an old Abbey and it is there, the one-time child murdering, Uncle Dickie, is thought to be buried. I spoke those months ago about the silliness of it but apparently, they think they’ve found him now. Also, once identified by DNA, they are going to bury him again.

What? He was buried. He’d been underground over 500 years. What was the point digging him up only to stick him under the ground again? Have they nothing better to do in Leicester?

No … don’t bother answering that.

Here is the old duffer, being terribly over-acted by Sir Lawrence Olivier during the death scene from the film, Richard III, based on a play by some guy named Shakespeare.

Trying to eradicate history.

I’ve kept quiet about this for weeks but no more.

I’ve watched and read about the Jimmy Saville scandal with interest (God, that sounds like an opening from a letter to my local paper). I know the guy isn’t alive to defend himself but from the testimonies I’ve heard, I’m in no doubt he was a very bad man. Thing is, people are now trying to wipe out all trace he existed by changing street signs, removing plaques, etc. A huge effort, in fact. It’s a pity that effort wasn’t put in over the years bringing him to justice when alive. I don’t blame the girls one bit but I do blame all those who now say they suspected him all along. It’s like everybody knew. In fact, I feel like I’m the only person who didn’t know Jimmy Saville was a paedophile.

It’s a shame though. I’ll never be able to watch those boy scouts on the roller coaster without wondering if Jimmy asked them to promise to do their duty.

Whatever the conclusion, this should always remain one of the best TV moments ever.

Knob of the week.

I haven’t had a knob of the week for ages. I stopped when most of my subjects were all knobs and I just incorporated them into the other stories. However, as a headline for Tory MP, Philip Davies, knob of the week, says it all.

Davies showed himself to be an idiot of the utmost degree by suggesting the disabled and people with learning difficulties should expect to get less pay as they could never be as productive as more able folk.

I did think of arguing the case against his remarks, even coming up with some clever and satirical putdown for such ridiculous comments from an MP. However, I think in this case, basic name-calling insults will suffice.

CRETIN!

No spooks in this house.

As I was saying earlier, Halloween has gone and not only that, I didn’t get one kid trick or treating at my door this year. Great. I knew that Jim Fixed it for Me, badge would come in useful one day.

Cheers.

Nick

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