Have you taken the kids to see Santa at a Department Store near you? Here is a piccy of him without the fancy dress.

Actually this is a 13th-century depiction of Saint Nicholas of Myra who has morphed over the centuries into Santa Claus. As any fule kno, he was a 4th-century Greek Christian bishop from Lycia, a province of the Byzantine Anatolia now in Turkey.

In his time, Nick was famous for his generous gifts to the poor, though he probably didn’t drop down people’s chimneys or “mush mush” his reindeer in a floppy red hat and cloak. He was also famous for not turning up in the department stores of his day and dandling children on his knees. It’s just that he was too busy most likely, not that he would have failed his CRB check – after all, he was a highly esteemed member of the Church…

Anyway, onwards and forwards to Santa Claus. 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.

Suddenly …

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

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

My innocence ended right there.

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

We’re staying with friends in a part of the UK that’s being deluged at the moment. Their property is in a valley and the run-off from the hills considerable. A bit like being in a giant bathtub with the taps on at full pressure.

Here is a photo taken this morning of the normally quiet little stream a few feet from their house.


Here is a photo of the same stream making a small diversion through their living room just over a year and a half ago.


It’s a beautiful part of the world, and we love staying with our friends, though we’re beginning to wonder if we shouldn’t be fashioning a makeshift boat out of the bedframes. Now that would be even more memorable than the Christmases I spent playing the guitar and singing to long suffering and captive audiences at a homeless shelter.


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.

So, wherever you are, me and the Mummies wish you a peaceful, happy and dry holidays with those you love. May your children wake up on Christmas morning with smiles on their faces and, just in case, tie some Bubble Wrap around the radiator pipe.

Happy Christmas and see you again in 2014!



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    1. It’s our friends room and the water reached 3 foot. They moved back earlier this year after some serious refurbishment, so we were holding our breath the other day! Hope storms abating in Canada. We have them over here today.

    1. Indeed! We had a lovely time apart from our friend, who we’d been staying with, having to swim out of her front door at 3am on Christmas Eve with husband and dog. Luckily for us we’d come back home early but she has lost everything. Hope you and your family enjoyed Xmas and I wish you a happy and poetic 2014.

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