Julia, with her normal concern for my moral welfare, has decided that today is going to be spent in a flurry of activity. This, it seems, will prevent me getting into mischief and will ensure that we have an excellent family Christmas.
It involves shopping, buying things we don’t need, and arguing.
What it doesn’t involve, I’m told, is stocking up with beer so that, with the assistance of my brother-in-law, I may construct a masterly essay on brewing and beer tasting. That’s a loss to the world of literature, and if Julia takes her place in history alongside the person from Porlock she has only herself to blame.
The shops will be closed for one day. We will have a special meal. We will do a lot of sitting round eating, talking and complaining about the poor quality of TV. This pretty much describes every Sunday of my youth. Things have moved on since then but have we really lost the knack of sitting round talking about nothing and eating roast meat?
The shops used to close on Sundays, TV only had a couple of channels and we had a roast dinner – the phrase “Sunday dinner” was invented specifically to describe this.
We never had to fight people in the aisles of the supermarket or buy enough food for a week just to see us through until Monday.
I’m not going to resist, as I won’t win. As you go about your pre-Christmas tasks just spare a thought for a poor man being swept along on a tide of Christmas preparations, being elbowed by pensioners as he competes, under the orders of his wife, for the last few nobby greens.
At least my moral welfare will be impeccable, my soul will be stainless, and, after a generous portion of high-fibre brassicas, my bowels will be gleaming.