Sadly, the inspiration I sought for today’s narrative topic wasn’t behind door number 14 on the advent calendar. That’s unless I decide to muster a yarn about a red-nosed reindeer indulging in a game of table tennis – A subject path that for many reasons I’ve quite frankly no inclination of embarking on. 

Consequently, I’m currently residing in my dining room completely bereft of subject matter for this literary piece. Not to mention, as I recline in a comfy armchair, I’m being plagued by a lack of ornament symmetry which I’ve just spotted on the Christmas tree I erected on Wednesday.

No matter how valiantly I resist, I’m unable to avert my eyes from an area of the tree that, like my current levels of creativity, lays barren. My optical sight units being constantly drawn to this gap that requires concealment by either bauble or tree light. 

A decoration anomaly that’s playing havoc with my OCD. Taunting me with thoughts like how the heck did it take me two days to spot this lack of ornament symmetry? Not to mention raising a conundrum of which bauble to re-site to avoid the introduction of a completely different aesthetic irregularity.

Changing the subject, I’ll be spending Christmas Day without the company of my wife Karen this year. Following the passing of her mother a couple of weeks ago, she’s chosen to spend some time in County Durham caring for her dad. Dates that include the 25th and 26th December.

It’ll be the first time in over thirty years that I’ve not spent the Christmas holidays in the company of my spouse. Instead, I’ll be toasting St Nick in the company of my family members, including uncle Roger. An eccentric man who, in a misguided attempt to appear rebellious, wears a wrist watch on his ankle.

Truth be told, I’m not even certain if the old guy actually is a blood relative. We’ve called him uncle Roger since I can remember, but I’m unsure whether the Strachan’s share any DNA with this man in his dotage. 

All I know about this enigmatic chap was acquired a few years back when questioning my mum on how we’re related to uncle Roger. Her response was to cough nervously, prior to informing me that my grandma found him on Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, in 1939. An unlikely tale, but she maintains it’s her understanding of why the guy turns up to all family Christmas dinners.

He never brings gifts for his ‘brood’; joking his contribution to our Christmas feast is a vast appetite and access to time checks via his ankle watch…… For all I know, though, he could be a bloke with a 50 year habit of just walking into my family home on Christmas Day for a free meal, booze and warmth.

Roger’s idiosyncratic behaviour extends to adding the word Sainsburys*** in the place of our national anthem lyrics he’s unsure of. His harmless bellowing of ‘God Save Our Sainsburys’ at the Queen’s Christmas Speech conclusion now chronicled in the annals of family folklore.

*** – A UK supermarket chain.

See the source image
Uncle Roger after consuming the sprout tree

It’s going to be weird being bereft of my wife’s company on Christmas Day; particularly after three decades of us being sat across the same table when the turkey dinner is served. She echoes my sentiments, but adds she won’t miss uncle Roger’s snoring when Strictly Come Dancing hits the screens on the evening.

God bless her, Karen’s had a truly rubbish time of late. I know from experience how dreadful losing a parent is; and that was without facing the major health battles she has to contend with. Circumstances further exacerbating the difficulty of her existential challenges.

Anyhow, I’m going to bring this narrative to a conclusion. I need to sort out my Christmas tree’s lack of symmetry, which is driving me nuts!!