Tuesday 20 February 2018

Have yourself a Merry little Christmas

Tuesday: I bumped into a Polish friend today and he told me he was up against it to be ready for Christmas. 'I have the tree but haven't started to decorate it yet,' he flustered.

I told him about the tree I saw being decorated at the young lad's GAA club's Christmas party last weekend. The tree was bare when we arrived, before a back door was swung open and the young players were invited to dive into a big brown box, grab a single decoration each, and told to get busy.

The tree was glistening and sparkling in less than three minutes and to the dads present it seemed like a perfect job. I imagine some of the mammies had to sit on their hands to restrain themselves from touching up the over-enthusiastically flung-on tinsel. Or balancing out the unevenly dangling baubles.

'I have a friend that put his tree up a few weeks ago,' my Polish pal continued, 'and he has re-decorated it three times since. No one is allowed touch it!'

The good woman does most of the decorating in our house. The young lad is at the stage where he likes to help too, while the younger lad introduces Fireman Sam and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the characters in the crib. I told him it was highly unlikely that Michaelangelo and the Virgin Mary would ever have socialised. Or that the Three Wise Men would have needed a fire service call-out from Pontypandy. Putting the baby Jesus in his toy cherry picker was the final straw.

However, the good woman is regretting going artificial this year (with the tree that is) and I reckon by the time we reach the weekend she will have sent me off to hunt for the real thing. I can sense her uneasiness when we are sitting watching TV in the evenings. I'm watching the screen, while she's watching the tree. 'Oh I just love the smell of a real one,' she pines. If she doesn't rest easy, I don't rest easy.

Wednesday: As nights in front of the box go, tonight was up with the best of what television had to offer in 2013. First up was a brilliant BBC retelling of the fascinating story of the Great Train Robbery of 1963. What was all the more incredible was that it was scheduled to run before the death of Ronnie Biggs (a peripheral character in this account) was announced today.

This was an outstanding piece of film which reiterated, for me, that when it comes to making dramas the BBC blows its competitors out of the water.

After the show we flicked to RTE 1 where Matthew McConaughey was killing time with dialogue (who needs it when you're beautiful) until he removed his shirt. I didn't stick around long enough to find out, but presume he eventually did.

Then it was over to RTE 2 for Keane v Vieira, Best of Enemies. This country's obsession with all things Keane has exhausted me at this stage, however, this documentary was any football fan's dream. Has Keane mellowed with age? Not at all. It's early days in his Ireland assistant manager role, but expect many more colourful chapters in the fiery Corkman's life yet. If you love football, track down this show.

Friday: In the end Christmas slipped in, like every year, far too quickly. And like every year once we get the paper on the press I have time to think. That's when I remember who I forgot to send a card to, and now it's too late to get one in the post and expect it to arrive on time. Most adults I talk to agree that Christmas is great for the first 10 to 15 years of your life. Then the excitement wears off for a while before reinventing itself once you have kids to concentrate on, whether they are your own, or nieces or nephews, or the offspring of friends. Because the look on an innocent child's face when they talk about Santa and what he's going to bring temporarily washes away day-to-day worries. On that note I'd like to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas. I hope it's a good one...and the dinner's only delicious.

New Ross Standard

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