Are you taking the kids to see Santa Claus? Plummy Mummy has another agenda …


Santa's Coming to Town


I lost my faith aged 6. My sister and I were lying in bed on Christmas Eve pretending to be asleep. The door opened a crack, and we glimpsed the big man in red (though strangely barefoot and with a hint of white curly beard), tiptoe in with the heavy stockings. We held our breaths. He was finding his bearings in the pitch black.

BASH! CRASH! The sound of ankle bone connecting with cold, hard radiator.

“OW! For F**K’S sake!” shouted Santa in Dad’s voice.

Innocence ended right there.

After that, all visits to Father Christmas at Herrods, Selfishes and Harvey’s Nickers were tarnished forever.

Even more memorable though were the Christmases I spent playing the guitar and singing to long-suffering and captive audiences at a homeless shelter.


Santa's Coming to Town


You know the X Factor isn’t going to call you back, when everyone goes and sits out in the snow rather than listen to yet another do-gooder accompanying herself to a medley of Christmas Carols. Even my visitor stats seem sky high compared to the number of bums on seats then. I can’t be there this year, but find out how you can help as a volunteer or donor. It’s a fantastic experience, though if you have young kids, maybe give the night time rotas a miss.

One year I finally got it together and invited three girlfriends to join me in a Pop-Up girl group. I’m not completely sure, but I think we were ‘The Rockettes’ as two of us had been rock climbing buddies and had a band with that name. That particular mate, Rosita, plays the guitar as well. She has an amazing voice and sings in a top Welsh choir. When she was a teenager, Brian Epstein wanted to represent her – yes that’s the same Brian Epstein who was the Beatles’ manager. But Rosita was at school and didn’t want to interrupt her A Levels studies which she loved. She turned him down.

I know what you’re thinking. Me too. But she’s had an interesting life all the same. Luckily for me Rosie’s also my sister’s sister-in-law, so we’re family as well as friends.

Another year, I set up a temporary art school at Crisis at Christmas for a week. About 30 guys came and sat at the trestle tables we set up. I wanted to create a piece of artwork by and for homeless people that would raise awareness and bring confidence and pride to those who made it.

The men designed their ideal images on hexagonal clay panels: a football team; a girlfriend; a favourite meal etc. which we then made into plaster casts. We’d begged and borrowed the materials from several art schools in London. Then we schlepped everything to the huge temporary shelter which was in the Olympia Exhibition Centre in London.  A few months earlier, I’d met a man who drew a design that was going to incorporate these images into a 12ft bronze sculpture for Central London. Wimbledon school of Art said they would cast it for us. By the end of the week, the guys at the shelter felt good about their artwork and themselves. At least a couple of them were inspired to look for jobs based on their renewed self confidence. Their faces were brighter with hope as they walked off into their future.

If you’ve ever done this sort of volunteering I’d love to hear your stories.

So if you know or see a rough sleeper, please remember them especially when the weather’s cold outside. That includes the The Big Issue sellers too. My local one, Dan, says he prefers it if someone buys a copy (it’s a seriously good magazine with the hardest Sudoku puzzle ever), but a smile and chat go a long way. It’s a tedious and finger-numbing job on that pavement all week.

Me and the Mummies wish you a peaceful and happy holiday with those you love. May your children wake up on Christmas morning with smiles on their faces but, just in case, tie some Bubble Wrap®  around the radiator pipe.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS and if I’m too knackered after shopping, wrapping and cooking to do another post this month, hope to see you next in 2017!

Oh, and the man who designed the 12ft bronze sculpture for me? Yes reader, I married him.


Santa's Coming to Town


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  1. Funnily enough I’ve just donated a few quid to someone I know who is helping the homeless at Christmas. As I said to her: it’s always something I meant to do, but so far haven’t. I support our local Big Issue seller – it’s the least I can do. I won’t sing though. Have a happy Christmas. Alison x #FridayFrolics

    1. Hi Alison, thanks for that. I know what you mean about singing, I really do even though I used to sing in a choir my son stuck his fingers in his ears every time i sang to him. Another year I got 3 girlfriends in a band and we sang and played much better. In fact one of them as a teenager was scouted by The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein. She was really into her A Levels at the time and turned him down. True story. Happy Christmas to you and yours. Jo x #FridayFrolics

  2. Hi just had to say I LOVE your work 🙂

    I am originally from Manchester, a nurse, wife and mum of 4 supposed adult kids…now I am in Australia and miss the witty sense of humour that your blog really gives out.

    Your cartoons are brilliant. I am just redoing my business website but you can catch me if you like anytime and twitter parenthelpbaby.

    keep up the great work…

    1. Hi Rosemary, what a lovely compliment thank you so much. Especially coming from a nurse. I put them at top of my good egg list. (It’s a very long list). I hate the sight of blood and all things pharmaceutical so even holding a St John Ambulance course at my house was quite a big deal. Will trot over to your place shortly and have a gander at your blog. Jo x

    2. Rush of blood to the brain sorry! Realise you don’t have a blog yet, but will write you up in my ‘Bloggers to visit in the near future’ diary. Jo 🙂

    1. Do you think bubble wrap is a registered name? Perhaps they’ll sponsor me to do a post? Like covering baby in bubble wrap for a wet outing etc. Yeah we had a ‘funny’ old growing up. It wasn’t that funny at the time with far too much booze. We even had a cat named Tipsy. See you on the other side too though I hope you mean 2017, I’m not ready to pop my clogs yet. Thar’s posts to be written arrr. (Thats meant to sound a bit like a pirate but don’t know how to spell arrr. Jo x #FridayFrolics

    1. Thanks Debbie. All true sadly. Nice thing about being so old is i have more stories of general weirdness to write about. Or maybe they’re just coming back to me now. Jo #BloggerClubUK

  3. Love your cartoon…. my eldest keeps came home saying that a girl in school told her that santa wasn’t real..she’s only 5 so I just thought it was to young to ruin it from her. My father in law dresses up as santa and pretends to leave the house in the morning and the kids watch him walk round the corner …. they love it but I imagine one of them will soon say ‘is that grandad’. Ha. Good on you for entertaining the folk at the homeless shelter x have a FAB Christmas #fridayfrolics

    1. Ooh how frustrating to have her classmates telling her that. Tell your daughter to tell that girl ‘there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’ That should knock it on the head.
      I’m sure your FIL loves dressing up as Santa but I wonder what they think of him at work? Happy Christmas to all of you too #FridayFrolics

    1. Hi Selena, Funny how we want our kids to distinguish between fiction and reality, but at the same time buy into the fat stranger plops down your chimney fantasy. Sorry your bubble was burst early too. I dunno, glad it’s over at my end though. Thanks for coming by #FridayFrolics

    1. Couldn’t for the life of me work out what Sanat was. Then I worked it out. A good code word for the kids perhaps 😉 jo #KCACOLS

    1. I suppose so. Think it was more the result of too many glasses of the hard stuff rather than the dark room which made him a bit disorientated ! #eatsleepblogRT

      1. haha, oh well! Maybe he needed some motivation before the job? You have a great sense of humour about it so the memory is not tarnished because of that. x Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday.

        1. There are many lovely guys who’ve had the stuffing knocked out of them after terrible life events. Something like this or indeed the doctors and nurses and mental health professionals who give up their free time can make all the difference. There but for the grace of God … Next Sunday we’ll be in Morocco but will return New Year #KCACOLS

  4. That’s a proper heart warming story, the bit about volunteering and meeting your husband. not so much the bit about the swearing santa/Dad! We didn’t have stockings, we had pillow cases and I was always bit suspicious that Santa knew where the pillowcases were kept! creepy! Have an awesome Xmas with you and yours! See you on the other side of the silliness!!! xx#chucklemums

    1. Clever you to be suspicious of Santa. Rascal he is and not a good role model. Needs to go on a diet, have a shave and not be so secretive. Oh i forgot he doesn’t exist. See you in 2017 and have a lovely time with the family X #chucklemums

  5. Love the way you mix your trademark humour with a lovely Christmas message too – a few years ago I made a thing of giving my “local” Big Issue seller £10, taking a magazine and stopping for a chat. Then life got in the way and I stopped, which I feel like a bit of a tit for. So I’ll be reinstating that this year. Thank you for linking up to the last #Chucklemums, it’s been a blast! Look out for a possible reincarnation next year…

    1. Hi Lovely, what you said has really made my day, that is fantastic. I never know whether to say stuff like that, but felt compelled this year when i see Dan and his mate sitting in the damp for hours and only selling about 4 copies. They sit outside Tesco’s local which has an all female staff. Occasionally when some bad boys kick off in the shop or a shoplifter starts to run out, the BI sellers help sort it out. So they get a nice patch in a well lit area and Tesco gets free protection. Result. Thanks for all the #chucklemums 🙂 jo

    1. Never feel ashamed of how much you do. For me I’ve done lots of things I regret so it’s nice to redress the balance a bit. The statue designer, my husband, was introduced to me by his daughter! Merry Christmas to you too #KCACOLS

  6. I don’t venture into the city often so I don’t see the big issue sellers often but after reading this, next time I definitely will buy one. A local cafe near me accepts donations for a woman’s refuge so I have been inspired to donate another round of items to them. #anythinggoes

  7. I’m not sure my boy believes in Santa. He’s a little cynic like his Dad (he’s also too smart for his own good – latest observation, upon finding tampax, “are these injections for your lady bits Mummy?” Que purple face)
    Thanks for linking up my love! #chucklemums

    1. OMG! he did NOT say that did he?! They keep us on our toes. At least he’s not sneaking in the tampons for his show and tell. Thanks for leaving a comment Saarah 🙂 #chucklemums

    1. Really appreciate that Claire. Yes really hope to be back in the new year unless the advocaat and baileys do me in first. Have a lovely one yourself. x jo #Fridayfrolics

  8. I can’t ever remember believing … I guess I must have done, but with two older sisters I expect they broke it to me very early on with the usual ‘sisterly love’ that we shared back then. I hate thinking of people on their own at Christmas or homeless, it really is a very unfair world.

    Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix

    Stevie x

    1. Haha oh yes that sisterly love. I’m a younger one too so sympathise with you. Yes its a tough old world especially this time of year. Happy Christmas Stevie and hope to ‘see’ you in 2017 xjo #picknmix

    1. I’m glad to find another Big Issue fan. John Bird rules OK. Hope you have a lovely time with your family over the next couple of weeks 🙂 #eatsleepblogrt

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