Gary Strachan – "Write" Said Fred

Off The Wall Essays From Deep Within A Capricious Mind

Advent

Opening the Strachan advent calendar’s first door this morning, I was startled be confronted by a creaking noise. Unsure of it’s source, I concluded the sound had either emanated from my yet to warm up middle aged limbs, or as a consequence of rust on the calendar door hinges.

With the calendar’s composition being cardboard I concluded the piercing screech to be the former; meaning there’s no requirement for me to WD40 the remaining doors…….. That being said, I should probably start upping my daily glucosamine intake to address my creaking elbow joints.

The chocolate filled advent calendar sits on an occasional table in a small corner of our dining area. I refer to it as an occasional table as occasionally, for instance when my wife Karen wants to vacuum under my feet, I use it as a seat.

Thankfully, these days residents at casa Strachan no longer need to display the vigilance around chocolate advent calendars that was necessary prior to my daughter Rachel moving to Canada.

Before she flew the nest opening each door on it’s pertinent day ordinarily didn’t yield anything other than fresh air. My wife and I concurring this lack of candy resultant from our offspring’s clandestine pilfering.

That being said, though, I could be doing Rachel a disservice and the paucity of chocolate behind the cardboard flaps may’ve been a consequence of confectioner Cadburys venturing into the fresh air advent calendar market.

A shrewd green yuletide pitch to boost the consumers oxygen levels and the company coffers. A product marketed with the ‘catchy’ tag line:-

‘When the carbon dioxide is just too much, try Cadburys fresh air advent calendars!”

See the source image

I’d proffer, though, we weren’t unfairly accusing our daughter of this misdemeanour. An observation born from witnessing evidence of chocolate snacking around her mouth shortly after placing the festive countdown product on the occasional table.

At the time, I also concluded consumer gullibility isn’t yet at a level where that they’d pay for fresh air…. Give it a few years though!

I don’t recall there being chocolate advent calendars when my siblings and me were kids. Living in a Amish community in the north east of England meant our parents made them out of any spare paper and cardboard at hand.

Consequently, the 1970’s saw no festive snowy scenes of yuletides yore in the Strachan home. Instead of witnessing pictures of robins, holly wreaths, wise men and shepherds, our calendar views a collage of clippings from the Radio Times, Daily Express, cornflake packets and the gas bill.

Thankfully, if one of us opened the advent calendar door to be greeted by the gas bill our parents spared us from paying it. 

It wasn’t uncommon for one of us to open the door on the 24th December and find a grainy monochrome picture of Tory leader Ted Heath’s yacht or a disparaging comment about Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer Denis Healy’s bushy eyebrows.

Heavily influenced by our advent calendars, Yuletide in our home was about the 1973 miners strike, power cuts and that our parents owed £2.57 on the phone bill.

Don’t get me wrong we didn’t live in poverty, my dad was a factory manager and although by no means rich, we never did without anything. However, we may’ve become rich if dad’s market research had been more  thorough. His company would maybe then have realised there wasn’t much call for luminous hat rims in 1970’s Gateshead……. Or even now coming to think of it!

Some people say my late dad’s innovative ideas were ‘before his time’. However, I prefer to think of it as him having bloody ridiculous millinery epiphany’s.

Anyway, I need to make tracks now as there’s a few things to complete on my ‘To Do’ list. One of which is to ask my missus where she procured all the chocolate she’s been troughing while I’ve been writing.

Before I go, my wife has responded to my enquiry about the source of the confectionery she’s been eating……. By any chance, does anyone want to buy a Cadburys fresh air advent calendar?!

Remember what they say in the advert…… ‘When the carbon dioxide gets just too much, try Cadburys fresh air advent calendars!”…… That’s a no then?!

Categories: Blogs, family, fiction, humour

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