WITH 2015 only hours away, most of us are looking forward to it with hope, resolve and perhaps the chance of new beginnings.
Most of us, that is, except one elderly lady whose idea of a good time is sticking pins in a doll that looks like me.
In the week before Christmas I did offer to help with the stamping and posting of her Christmas cards, but Aunt Sadie had decided she wanted nothing to do with any of that stuff. She initially said it was to do with reducing her carbon footprint, but close questioning revealed that she “just couldn’t be arsed”.
She did insist, however, that I come over and wrap her presents. I presumed that, as usual, I wasn’t going to be on the receiving end and, as usual, I was right.
Last Sunday I received another call from her. “I forgot about Maureen next door. Get me some wrapping paper and bring it over as quick as you like.”
Quick as you like actually means “now” in Sadie-land.
Her best friend Madge, was there when I arrived. Madge was still wearing a Santa hat that read “Have a Coola Boola Christmas”.
Sadie had given it to her last year. She had also regifted some green eye make-up that someone else had given her a lifetime ago.
Madge appeared to have applied the whole palette in one go. Her eyes stood out like two balls of moss and the circles of dark rouge on her pasty cheeks didn’t help either. She looked like a Christmas serial killer. Even Nidge would have been afraid of her.
The two of them were glued to a recording of Jeremy Kyle – something about a couple doing the biz on the girlfriend’s dead mother’s grave. Madge’s moss balls were getting wider by the second while Auntie’s eyebrows had disappeared into her hair with shock.
On the dining table was an Aynsley vase that had been sitting in her glass cabinet for yonks. It was enveloped in a thick film of dust and there was a hairline crack near the lip.
“Maureen gets me books from the library. I don’t know what I would do without her,” she said, giving me the “because you are feckin’ useless” look.
I pointed out the hairline crack and proposed that maybe it would be nice if she bought the lady something that didn’t look as if it had been dropped from a height.
“It’s the thought that counts,” she snapped.
I took my life in my hands and suggested that perhaps Maureen deserved a little more thought.
In fairness to her she did think about it. Then she reached into her purse and retrieved a fiver.
“Here,” she said. “Sellotape that to it.”
Hope and resolve. Yep, I’m going to need a large bucket of each next year.