Shall I write a Christmas blog? It’s a bit late, it’s gone, thank God. So it would be a brief reflection on Christmas then just to cheer everybody up if you’ve got those post-Christmas blues, which I haven’t, glad to see the back of it really. And before you say that every day is Christmas day for the retired person let me say that I don’t feel any more negative or positive about the whole thing than when I was working, so some things don’t change when you’re retired. Once a miserable bastard always a miserable bastard as no doubt my children would say.
Not that it was too terrible, the usual tears, tantrums, stabbings, stranglings and good will to all people. I got exactly what I wanted present-wise which is not surprising since I bought them all myself and then handed them out to people to give me. Bought almost all of them on line so not too stressful really. Notable absences this year in The Summerhouse household, turkey, at least so far, and White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. I decided that we would watch different films this year and that ghost story films would be most appropriate. With this in mind part of my on-line order was The Cat and the Canary with Bob Hope and The Ghost Train with Arthur Askey (yep, the hello, playmates, guy), neither what you might call high quality films but at least they knocked White Christmas off of top spot, in this house at least.
The only other shopping I did pre Christmas was a trip into Leeds on the bus to pick up a book on the architecture of English railway stations, sad I know but there we are, that’s the kind of thing that makes me happy. When we passed 60 we were lucky enough to get our bus passes immediately, just one of the many plusses, reportedly, of being born in 1948, those born later have had to wait a bit. Before the pups (we haven’t plucked up the courage to take them on the bus yet) we would go into Leeds about once a week. Given the fare of £10 for both of us return this meant we saved about £500 a year. That gave me a warm glow as an adopted Yorkshireman. This year has been very different this being the first time I had travelled on the bus for months. I felt like a kid let off school. Mrs Summerhouse kept the pups at home, worked on the mince pies side of things and off I went. It was all so bright and shiney and there were people and cars and buildings and all manner of exciting things.
I thought, I need to get out more, then, when I saw Santa was driving our bus on the way home, I thought, you really do need to get out more, you’re hallucinating with the excitement of it all. But no, it was true, it really was Santa. I tried to get a proper photo but you’re not supposed to stand in front of the yellow line so I got these two subtle shots instead. In the end I rather preferred the ambiguous nature of these photos. Of course it started me thinking about all the obvious jokes – I’m sure the sleigh was much smaller than this last year or I know it says Holt Park on the front but we’re going to Lapland so get off if you don’t like it. That sort of thing. I asked Santa, as I got off the bus, whether this was his own idea (to drive the bus in full regalia) and he said it was. I have to say it cheered me up. I said, good on yer mate, in a kind of Aussie way. I haven’t always liked the way my country has gone as I’ve got older, deceit and greed at all levels – energy companies, water companies, politicians, the police, who can you trust? Well here’s one answer – trust Santa when he’s driving your bus even though, with full beard and hat hanging precariously over his eyes, you might want to question the health and safety arrangements. But, never mind. All I can say is thank God we didn’t choose this bus to try the pups out, Archie would have gone hysterical and then we’d have been banned Christmas or not. So that’s about it really. As you can tell not much happened in this our second retirement Christmas. Happy New Year to all my readers. I’m hoping to review my, soon to be last year’s, new year resolutions in my next blog. Can’t wait.