compiled by Patrick Carabine

An occasional series in which we randomly browse the recollections of an anonymous diarist.


I can’t say I’ll be sad to see the back of this “holiday”. My eldest son Tarquin arrives with a case of Lindesfarne Mead, and insists we host an impromptu Christmas Eve party, something I have never heard of. The inevitable result is that Celia Badwig, Tarquin and myself stagger off to midnight mass, led by Twollet at his inebriated worst. After an embarrassing incident at the baptismal font – Twollet claimed later that he was on heavy medication for gout and was wearing the wrong spectacles – I am unable to prevent Mrs O’Brien the usher’s wife from becoming hysterical. Father Grindr helps us to get Twollet’s trousers back on before the police arrive.


Christmas Day is the usual alcoholic collision of relatives, acquaintances and the exchange of farcical gifts. Tarquin has bought me something called a onesie in an adult size decorated with dog footprints. He then insists that I photograph myself in it using a long stick with a telephone on the end. What is the world coming to?


As I struggle through a cloud of thick, existential mead-fog, Celia Badwig calls. Somehow Twollet has persuaded her to buy tickets for the local Pantomime, Its  Behind You ! by the  South Downs Repertory Company, based on an Ingmar Bergman screenplay called The Seventh Seal. I go along thinking it will be a Disneyesque romp about a group of aquatic mammals. How wrong can you be? Twollet, a keen amateur ham, whose enthusiasm has always exceeded his technique by some distance, plays the part of Death – (for which he feels it necessary to drink an entire bottle of vodka in order to “find his motivation”) – in a Father Christmas costume! The unsuitability of this escapes him, and during the scene where he plays chess with the knight, he compounds this by dropping his trousers and singing a filthy version of  Molly Malone at every opportunity. Needless to say, many parents, fed up with blocking their children’s eyes and ears every five minutes, head for the exit.


My New Year Resolution; spend less time with Twollet, who is becoming a bore. Tomorrow will be no exception as he has promised to bring some friends of his from the snooker club – which is nothing more than an after hours drinking den – who are going to perform something called “The last chicken in the shop”. No doubt it will be the usual childish nonsense, full of pointless jokes. When I tell Tarquin about this he just sniggers.


Celia Badwig and Mrs Gallbladder come for drinks at nine, and they, myself and Tarquin spend a pleasant hour or two playing Monopoly, and tells me is all the rage in London, but not really to my taste, as it is rather physical. The front doorbell rings at five to midnight, and when I open it, Twollet and three other drunks fall in. They disappear with Tarquin into the drawing room, and as the clock strikes 12, they burst out with a cry of “last chicken in the shop!” I cannot even begin to describe the horrendous scene which followed. Suffice it to say that I have never seen two ladies faint in unison before. I throw my fiercest glare at Tarquin, Twollet and his inebriated friends, whose idea of an explanation is to blow raspberries and collapse in helpless laughter. Happy New Year indeed.

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