Sunday 11th December 2011


The end of another year looms. I reckon we should do away with clocks and calendars and just live day to day, sunrise to sunset, instead of noting and being ruled by minutes and months. Watching the hands on the clock whirl forward and ticking off the days on the calendar makes you all too conscious of how short life is.

‘Oh for fucks sake, Gilli,’ I hear you cry, ‘don’t go depressing us again with your half-arsed philosophising on the shortness of life. Cheer up or we’ll have to slap you!’ 

Okay, okay, holds hands up, keep your hair on. I’ll try to be more chipper.

Shane baled out of the quasi-mansion yesterday morning to go visit his pa, who hasn’t been too well lately. He’s suffering from bronchitis. Dick and I are going over to Leo’s for Sunday lunch later today, so I don’t have a lot to do. 

I finished Christmas shopping on Friday, my own and the men folks. I can empathise with Santa. I know how he feels when he gets presented with a trillion lists of demands for pressies. I must confess I did rather enjoy choosing a gift for Shane’s niece Ruby. She’s coming up three. It was nice to have a legitimate excuse to roam around Toys R Us. It was like being a kid again.

I bought her the baby form of Lego - a Duplo Family House building set. It’s really cool, it has furniture and a working swing and little plastic people. It even has a pram that you can take the Borrower size baby for a walk in.

Dick was fascinated with it. Apparently he never had Lego when he was a kid. His parent’s idea of suitable Christmas gifts for kiddies was stuff like guns and ponies and coming home from boarding school for the holidays. They could have saved a truckload of dosh by giving him a bucket of plastic bricks to play with. It makes me glad I was born a commoner. Imagine never being given the opportunity to choke to death on a small piece of plastic. It happened to me. I ended up in hospital after managing to suck a tiny bit of Lego into my lungs. I was using my teeth to separate one piece from another and it somehow shot back into my throat.

My poor mum was terrified as I began gasping and choking. She just about fractured my spine by banging on my back. It didn’t help though and she called an ambulance. To cut a long story short, cos I can’t be arsed divvying up all the details, I’d inhaled the piece into one of the tubes at the top of my lungs. It was a potentially fatal situation. I was prepped for theatre and an op to remove it before it dropped further down.  I was given adrenalin because my breathing was getting laboured. It made me start coughing, and low and behold the piece shout out of my mouth and across the floor. I was kept in hospital overnight and had to have antibiotics to prevent my bruised lung infecting.  It didn’t put me off playing with Lego, but I didn’t enjoy it as much, not with my lips stapled shut to stop me putting it in my mouth. (Lie detector says NO) Okay, that was a lie. Mum didn’t staple my lips together, but she used to watch me like a hawk and screech in a really terrifying way if I showed any sign of sucking a brick.

Dick wanted to open the Duplo set and have a look at it properly, claiming it was in the interests of studying the design concept, but I knew better, he was itching to play with it. Bless his little Armani socks. His face was a picture as he examined the box contents, reading them out in reverent tones: bathtub, it’s even got a sweet little bathtub, Gilli.

Shane said a firm no. He wasn’t sending his niece a gift that had been opened and tampered with. Dick offered to buy a new set, but Shane refused, saying it was bad enough having one juvenile partner without another one descending into childishness. I decided not to be offended by his slur on my character. Besides, I’m not juvenile. I’m just youthful in outlook. 

While I was in the wonderland that is Toys R Us I succumbed to my youthful outlook and bought a couple of Star Wars lightsabers. I’m going to give one to me and one to Dick for Christmas. They’re bloody brilliant. They’ve got glowing blades and have motion sensor sound effects, unlike the lightsaber I had when I was a kid. It was just a flimsy plastic pole. I had to make my own sound effects. The front of my t-shirt used to get soaking wet with all the spit I made as I crackled and fizzed. I had a chapped chin with all the drool.

As toys go the lightsabers were a bit expensive, but I don’t care. They should be good for a laugh on Christmas Day. Dick is just the right height to play Qui-Gon Jinn. I’ll be his Padawan. I might even buy a fake braid to put in my hair. He’ll love it. I can see it leading to much kinkiness in the bedroom, not so much Star Wars as Sex Whores.

I did toy with the idea of buying Shane a lightsaber too, in the hope of him taking on the role of Darth Vader, but decided against it. Dick enjoys a bit of mucking around from time to time, he still has a boyish aspect to him, but Shane is one of those men who transitioned from child to adult with natural and confident ease. There were no lingering looks over his shoulder, no dragging of his feet, and no trepidation. He can sometimes be playful, but in a way that has no vestiges of childishness about it. He’s a fully adult and authoritative male all of the time and it’s one of the reasons I’m so drawn to him. He meets my need for emotional support and steadfast guidance. A boy needs a Daddy and he and Dick are the best a boy can have. Another reason I didn’t buy Shane a lightsaber is that knowing him he’d utilise it as a tool to wallop my juvenile and spendthrift arse with.

My stomach is growling a demand for something to chew on. I’m off to make some coffee and break out a box of Mr Kipling’s exceedingly merry mince pies. I’ll whip up some cream to put on them, though I won’t mention the word ‘whip’ when I serve one to Dick, otherwise he’ll get overexcited and spray them with an entirely different kind of cream.

Ciao for now, peeps!

Saturday 17th December 2011

I woke up early this morning. It was pitch dark and freezing cold. I put my bathrobe on and ventured downstairs to make a cup of tea. I put the fire on in the study and curled up in the chair by the window drinking my tea, while reading the Dick Francis book I nicked from the doctor’s surgery yesterday morning. I’ve never read any of his books before and I quite got into it while waiting for my turn to be stabbed and bled by the phlebotomist. My name was called just as the drugged, kidnapped, tied up hero was coming round and wondering where the hell he was. It would have been a shame to leave it there, so I slipped the paperback into my coat pocket. It was a bit naughty I suppose, but I’ll take it back when I’ve finished it.

Anyway, the sun eventually came up and I set aside the book so I could enjoy seeing the garden emerge from night’s shadow in all its glittering frost-laden glory. And that’s when I saw it, standing on the edge of the frozen birdbath, a robin. It must have heard my intake of breath because it was gone in a heartbeat. I’m sure it was a robin. Daft though it sounds, the sighting excited me and made my spirits soar. I haven’t seen it again, not yet, but I’m hoping it will reappear.

The wicked Snow Queen and her Muppet consort are heading our way tomorrow for their Christmas visit and I hardly even feel suicidal, thanks to a little bird.

All Hail Robin Redbreast!


Wednesday 21st December 2011

I woke at three this morning and couldn’t get back off to sleep no matter how many sheep I counted. I finally got up at half past four to take some painkillers for a pending headache and to make myself a cup of tea. I’m knackered now, and I’ve had enough of Penny. She dogged my footsteps all morning, going over what I’d already done, such as re-dusting the lounge and re-cleaning the bathroom, while making tutting noises under her breath. She does it to make clear she finds me wanting in all aspects of my household duties. It annoys the hell out of me and I could happily jab her in the eye, but, being a sensible chap, I just let her get on with it now instead of saying anything to her. I don’t want to get into a row with her, because it’ll be me that gets earache and the risk of arse-ache from Shane. She’s going home tomorrow morning, thank God.  I’ve got the bunting all laundered and ready to hang out.

The men folk took Monday off work this week to entertain her and Charles. They took them to Durham for the day and had lunch out. On the evening they treated them to a posh dinner at a place called Hardwick Hall. I didn’t join them. She comes to visit Dick and Shane, not me. I spent the day decorating the house for Christmas. My fresh Crimbo tree looks beautiful in the lounge. I also decorated the summerhouse and the den and I even managed to slip some garden fairy lights under Shane’s anti-festivity radar.

Plans to spend Christmas with Leo this year have been scuppered and for once I’m not at all chuffed about it. We’re going to spend a few days with Shane’s cantankerous father instead, my idea of jingle bell hell. I’d be more relaxed about having a stake of holly shoved up my arse without benefit of lubricant. I’m dreading it.  He was actually supposed to be spending the holiday with Shane’s brother James and his missus Lorraine. Apparently he’d been looking forward to it, as he doesn’t see much of his only granddaughter. On Sunday night, James called Penny to tell her that Lorraine’s mother had been taken ill and they had to fly out to France to be with her over Christmas, and so couldn’t play host to the old man.

Penny was upset because she and the Muppet have arranged to spend Christmas Day and Boxing Day with a couple of friends in a fancy hotel in Edinburgh. They’ve had it booked for the best part of a year. She had been looking forward to it, but said she couldn’t leave her father alone at Christmas and she would cancel.

Shane didn’t believe his brother’s tale about Lorraine’s mother being suddenly taken ill. He reckoned the appeal of a free holiday in the French countryside outweighed any consideration of duty to his own ailing parent. It was typical James and Lorraine selfishness. He told them so too. They had a furious exchange over the phone. It didn’t make a jot of difference. James was adamant that Lorraine’s mother needed help and only they could provide it.

Shane wouldn’t hear of Penny cancelling her plans or of their dad being on his own.
My Christmas fate was sealed.

The initial idea was for Shane’s dad to come to us, but the old bastard refused point blank. If he couldn’t go to James and Lorraine’s then he was going to stay at home. He didn’t want to be travelling a long distance, not when he was barely over his bout of bronchitis. Shane pointed out that James lived almost as long a distance from him as we did, but he dug his heels in, he wasn’t going to come to us. We would have to go to him, or he’d spend the day on his own. We’re traversing down there on Christmas Eve like the Magi bearing gifts. I’m hoping a ruddy big star appears and guides us somewhere else, but I don’t hold out much hope.

I did risk a small moan about the situation, but well out of earshot of alpha Daddy. I didn’t fancy having my arse mauled amid accusations of selfishness on my part. Dick sympathised, but said we’d just have to make the best of things.

Well, I’ve got plenty of stuff to be getting on with. Seeing as the holiday is close I’ll take this opportunity to post my Christmas card. Click here.









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