Well, here we are. It’s the last Sunday before Christmas and we are almost ready to dump 2020 into life’s great recycling bin and look forward to something (anything?) better next year. So much we’ve missed doing this year and so many people we’ve missed seeing. Next year’s going to be very busy making up for all that lost time!
We’ve dispatched our Christmas greetings. Once again we sent the bulk via e-mail but for those of you for whom we do not have an e-mail address, yours should be “in the post.” If you don’t receive one consider yourself very fortunate. But, if you are a glutton for punishment you can find this year’s offering here.
Too much content from the You Could Not Make It Up department this week so I have had to be selective. As usual, there seems to be an equal balance between the government’s incompetence regarding Covid and the continuing stupidity that is Brexit.
The latest advice from the Prime Minister is to have yourself a merry little Christmas. Get it? Having promised back in the summer that everything would be back to normal by Christmas, Boris has, once again, found himself unable to do the right thing. He announced some weeks ago that there would be a five-day respite over Christmas and although the scientists and healthcare professionals are crying in despair, Boris cannot bear to be seen as the Grinch who cancelled Christmas. So, instead of doing what the scientists are screaming for and telling people not to travel and visit relatives (especially elderly relatives) over the holiday period he has told them that they can do exactly that. At the same time, though, he wants to encourage everyone not to do that!
If you don’t want people to mix at Christmas change the rules to make it clear that that’s not a good idea. Instead, he reiterates that the rules allow you to travel and mix with friends and family but then suggests that folks use their common sense.
What common sense?
This from Emma Hardy, MP, sums up the idiocy of his current position nicely:
So I’m clear . . . the PM wants to move more areas into Tier 3 to reduce the spread of the virus, whilst relaxing rules so we can mix families over Xmas (but encouraging us not to mix because it’s dangerous) whilst blocking councils from closing schools to stop pupils mixing. – Emma Hardy MP
The schools issue is interesting. Some local councils in London with very high infection rates decided to close schools a week early for Christmas. “Oh no you don’t!” the Education Minister said and threatened the councils with legal sanctions forcing them to keep schools open this past week. In contrast, various private schools such as Eton, the PM’s alma mater, have indeed closed early to reduce further transmission of the virus.
The good news this week, I guess, is that the vaccination programme in the UK has started. It is, of course, a huge undertaking and a logistical nightmare. If you were going to plan a massive vaccine campaign wouldn’t you welcome the expertise of someone who had some experience in the field? Apparently not – what’s needed to be head of the £12 billion vaccination rollout in the UK is to be a venture capitalist with no experience of healthcare and certainly no experience of rolling out such a massive programme. Also, it helps if you are married to a Conservative Treasury Minister. After all, those seem to have been the same requirements for the useless individual leading the “World-beating” Track and Trace failure. After all, that has been going so well. If it ain’t working, don’t fix it!
The Guardian had A Timeline of Covid Chaos in the UK this past week. Remember when the chief medical officer said 20,000 deaths would be a good outcome? As of 1 Dec the UK is at 75,000 deaths and still rising. The surge after Christmas could easily bring the UK up to 100,000 deaths. World beating.
A friend shared this on Facebook – sad but true.
And then there is Brexit, the gift that keeps on giving. We’re still waiting on tenterhooks to see whether the UK can agree to a deal on future trading arrangements with the EU or simply crash and burn.
Michael Heseltine, a member of the Conservative government during the Thatcher years, wrote an excellent article in the Guardian.
Christmas is upon us and before the country goes back to work we are on our own. Sovereign, in charge, control regained. None of that creates a single job, one pound’s worth of investment or any rise in living standards. We will have risked our trading relationship with the world’s largest market which accounts for nearly half our imports and exports.
I guess you can sense that even the government doesn’t think it’s going to go too well when ministers are urging supermarkets to stockpile food and medicine in anticipation of the coming chaos. And so, all that remains is to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and to share, once again, the marevellous Christmas tale of Lovable Louise.
Lovable Louise — a Christmas Story
As a joke, my brother used to hang a pair of panty hose over his fireplace before Christmas. He said all he wanted was for Santa to fill them. What they say about Santa checking the list twice must be true because every Christmas morning, although Jay’s kids’ stockings were overflowed, his poor pantyhose hung sadly empty and grew increasingly threadbare.
One year I decided to make his dream come true.
I put on sunglasses and a fake beard and went in search of an inflatable love doll. Of course, they don’t sell those things at Walmart. I had to go to an adult bookstore downtown. If you’ve never been in such a store, don’t go. You’ll only confuse yourself. I was there almost three hours saying things like, “What does this do?” “You’re kidding me!” “Who owns that?” and “Do you have their phone number?”
Finally, I made it to the inflatable doll section. I wanted to buy a standard, uncomplicated doll suitable for a night of romance that could also substitute as a passenger in my truck so I could use the car pool lane during rush hour. I’m not sure what a complicated doll is. Perhaps one that is subject to wild mood shifts and using a French accent for no reason at all. (That also describes a few ex-girlfriends.) Finding what I wanted was difficult. Love dolls come in many different models. The top of the line, according to the side of the box, could do things I’d only seen in a book on animal husbandry. I figured the “vibro-motion” was a feature Jay could live without, so I settled for Lovable Louise. She was at the bottom of the price scale. To call Louise a “doll” took a huge leap of imagination.
On Christmas Eve, with the help of an old bicycle pump, Louise came to life.
My sister-in-law was in on the plan and cleverly left the front door key hidden under the mat. In the wee morning hours, long after Santa had come and gone, I snuck into the house and filled the dangling pantyhose with Louise’s pliant legs and bottom. I also ate some cookies and drank what remained of a glass of milk on a nearby tray.
Then I let myself out, went home, and giggled for a couple of hours.
The next morning my brother called to say that Santa had been to his house and left a present that had made him very happy but had left the dog confused. He would bark, start to walk away, then come back and bark some more. I suggested he purchase an inflatable Lassie to set Rover straight.
We also agreed that Louise should remain in her pantyhose so the rest of the family could admire her when they came over for the traditional Christmas dinner. It seemed like a great idea, except that we forgot that Grandma and Grandpa would be there.
My grandmother noticed Louise the moment she walked in the door. “What the hell is that?” she asked. My brother quickly explained.
It’s a doll.
“Who would play with something like that?” Granny snapped. I had several candidates in mind, but kept my mouth shut. “Where are her clothes?” Granny continued. I hadn’t seen any in the box, but I kept this information to myself.
“Boy, that turkey sure smells nice, Gran,” Jay said, trying to steer her into the dining room. But Granny was relentless.
“Why doesn’t she have any teeth?”
Again, I could have answered, but why would I? It was Christmas and no one wanted to ride in the back of the ambulance saying, “Hang on Granny, Hang on!”
My grandfather, a delightful old man with poor eyesight, sidled up to me and said, “Hey, who’s the naked gal by the fireplace?” I told him she was Jay’s friend. A few minutes later I noticed Grandpa by the mantel, talking to Louise. Not just talking, but actually flirting. It was then that we realised this might be Grandpa’s last Christmas at home.
The dinner went well. We made the usual small talk about who had died, who was dying, and who should be killed, when suddenly Louise made a noise that sounded a lot like my father in the bathroom in the morning. Then she lurched from the pantyhose, flew around the room twice, and fell in a heap in front of the sofa.
The cat screamed, I passed cranberry sauce through my nose, and Grandpa ran across the room, fell to his knees, and began administering mouth to mouth resuscitation. My brother wet his pants and Granny threw down her napkin, stomped out of the room, and sat in the car. It was indeed a Christmas to treasure and remember.
Later in my brother’s garage, we conducted a thorough examination to decide the cause of Louise’s collapse.
We discovered that Louise had suffered from a hot fireplace ember to the back of her right thigh. Fortunately, thanks to a wonder drug called duct tape, we restored her to perfect health. Louise went on to star in several bachelor party movies. I think Grandpa still calls her whenever he can get out of the house.
Meanwhile, keep happy, keep smiling, keep isolating as much as you can, wear a facemask when you go out and keep your distance. And keep safe.
Lots of love to you all,