Christmas farmers must raise tiny turkeys


As I turn my focus from the actual size of my stomach to what I intend to put in it over Christmas, have I already goofed. In October I made a Christmas cake the size of the heel stone at Stonehenge and Christmas pudding so heavy that when it is engulfed in flaming brandy I will need a crane to bring it to the table.  Same for the turkey. Ever since my wife introduced me to the Southern US joy of deep frying an 8lb turkey in under an hour, a big bird presents no problem. So I ordered a 12lb one this year as we expected a dozen for lunch and a house full of guests. Oops! So far Christmas lunch is for four with overseas family unable to take flights to visit us and others here in Malta locked up in lockdown. We cannot even invite strangers as they would be considered outside our bubble! If I was a Supermarket, I would get rid of large boxes of mince pies by selling  them individually. Special offer would be ‘Xmas style tiny turkeys’ (chickens) for four people, walnuts in packs of six and Stilton slices. The only large family gatherings are going to be around a Zoom screen rather than a Christmas tree or dinner table.

...and another thing

Now some of you will be saying it’s a blessing not having Aunty Mary look disapprovingly at the kids glued to a PlayStation.

“Never allowed in my day,” she’d say accompanied by a shaking of more chins than a Hong Kong telephone directory.

No more kisses for my sister under the mistletoe from Uncles with halitosis that could strip paint or me having to blame the dog for making bad smells to make up for flatulent grannies.

However, I have to admit a certain glee at Christmas. I enjoyed seeing my family awkwardly wiggle and squirm when faced with the more bizarre side of the Grenside clan. After a year of being told to be polite to adults and behave in company, I rather enjoyed the point scoring between adults, same as kids in a playground.

“How did you cook these potatoes dear. I get mine crispy on the outside. These are a bit soggy.” Cooking advise from one distant relative to my mother. Someone she always disliked because she was a foreigner (French).

“Haven’t you finished the Times crossword yet John,” my Aunt would admonish her younger brother, forgetting the City Titan he had become and talking to him like he was wearing shorts.

Best of all were the games. I used to pray that my alcoholic Uncle would pull Deep Throat as the movie in charades or I would play Twister against my older sexier cousin and just have to collapse on her pneumatic bust.

And then there was pulling crackers. A quaint English custom where everyone forms a cross armed chain with a cracker in each hand around the dining table.

“Now. On the count of three. Pull. And watch the glasses. One two..”

With always the same result. At least two wine glasses are broken by violently pulled arms. The same people every year win the cracker’s contents in both hands and wave them triumphantly overhead and the same always win none. Is a crappy pair of nail clippers that is usually the prize worth so much chest beating?

And the paper hats? You can measure the stages of life in whether you wear a paper hat at Christmas or not. Yes as a kid, no as a teenager, yes first visit from University, no while single and certainly never with a girlfriend. Yes when married with kids, no when divorced and yes when you are old and dribbling and people stick it on your head anyway.

...and another thing

Presents. They say the first signs of maturity are when you buy white goods instead of going to a nightclub and the Christmas presents given to your parents cost more than the ones they give you.

But this year? What’s the form? Putting anything in the post right now is a lottery. I received a package from the US five months after it was priority posted via USPS!

Is the etiquette on Zoom a) silence, b) say you will hand over a present when we can next see each other or lie and say you sent one in the post.

Either way my Aunt would still buy me The Beano album and a pair of socks.

Stay safe.

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One Comment

  1. Christopher Wicker says:

    Astute & funny as always Mark, metinks there is also a comedy script writer amongst your many potential accomplishments

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