Thursday 27 October 2016

There are 366 shopping days till Christmas - so don't get flustered yet

Published 23/12/2013 | 02:30

Christmas shopping on Grafton Street in Dublin. Picture: Arthur Carron/Collins
Christmas shopping on Grafton Street in Dublin. Picture: Arthur Carron/Collins

WHAT I love about the eve of Christmas Eve is that there's only one more shopping day to Christmas. If I go into a shop I walk straight up to the item I'm buying. Then I bring it to the counter and pay for it.

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There are women who have to look at 17 different things they have no notion of buying. And they have to touch all the garments and turn them around and upside down and imagine what they'd look like on even though they know they will never wear the clothes.

I'm speaking in vast generalities here. You can't expect me to go through the register of electors and write Mary Murphy isn't mad for the shopping and Mary A Murphy is. There isn't room to individualise. Is that a word? Individualise. It sounds like something from a press release made by a multinational about moving jobs to a place where labour is cheaper than here. The point is if you're not one of the women who take ages at shopping, well then take no notice.

And I know many, many men who are bad enough too. Men who know stuff like the mauve will clash with the purple architraves and know what off the shoulder means and want and know how to return clothes they don't like and know their shirt size and how to sew in buttons. I'd be careful of men who can sew in buttons.

The shopping is relentless. There's this shop here in Listowel and they have the Christmas decorations at half price. Presumably most people have already bought their decorations and so the shop are trying to clear off the remaining stock. This means there are now 366 days' shopping to Christmas, if you think about it. But it is lovely to see the local shops busy. We've had a tough year. To survive now is a massive achievement so if you can manage it at all, shop local.

I'm a small bit cranky again today, as you may have guessed. Agitated is more the word. Over small things. What drives me mad is mince pies. All they are is boring, doughy buns without any mince inside. A man came into the bar and asked me for his Christmas drink. He comes in about every two years and here he is, demanding a Christmas drink, so I give him the HSE treatment, and tell him he's on a waiting list.

The worst thing though was the Loch Ness monster that wasn't.

I'm not a proper reporter who finds out about politicians doing dodgy deals with shady profiteers but I was sure I had the scoop of the year. There I was looking out the window on the road to the Tarbert Car Ferry when I should be watching the road.

This is it, I thought. My pension. Out with me into rain so bad it soaked me in seconds. The Tarbert Monster had his hump showing. It was a Nessie pose. His head was stuck in the estuary mud and his arse was buried on the other side. I snapped away with the iPhone. Business people are given so many bills at this time of the year we are driven demented. This was the big one but the monster turned out to be a tractor tyre.

There's more.

THE neighbour's dog is well trained. He only does his business in our driveway. Their cat brought a dead rat to our front door once and then the neighbour told me this was really a compliment from the cat, as cats only dump dead rats on people they really like.

And more and more.

The mother keeps asking me to help her with the Christmas cards. She gets a lot. The mother always answers the cards but sometimes they are signed by Seamus and family as if there's only one Seamus in the whole world and the mother should know who he is. I check the postmark but how many Seamuses are there in Cork?

She has to send cards. It's a sacred duty and I tell her I have a solution. It's an ad in the paper. This one. So Happy Christmas to Seamus and family from Mary and family. And to the rest of you as well. I'm just thinking that I better get out of the bad form right or I'll ruin Christmas for everyone.

So here's a good news story. Max Browne, Eric's border collie, the one with the lovely natural silver curls on his neck, was found. He ran away from home or else he was kidnapped or couldn't help himself over a bitch. Max ended up about 40 miles from home on the Dingle Peninsula and he was spotted by a girl who read a plea for Max's safe return on Facebook. Eric is delighted and it's infectious.

Tomorrow, the emigrants and those living in the cities will be home. Christmas Eve is easily the best day of the year.

How's this, the song goes?

"I see friends shaking hands/ saying how do you/ they're really saying I love you."

We'll have to be in fine form to welcome them all home.

Irish Independent

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