As is my habit these days, I’m commencing this blog while in situ of a White Rose Shopping Centre (WRSC) coffee shop. My early arrival, prior to the majority of Christmas shopping hordes congregating in South Leeds’ premier retail outlet, meant not having to spend twenty minutes searching for an elusive parking space. A tarmac holy grail at this juncture in the calendar.

GJ Strachan’s earlier than usual venture to the WRSC also allowing him to secure another eagerly sought after pre-Christmas gem; that of a cafe seat. A prize which’s as rare as a lion’s wildebeest steak during the final two months of the year***.

 *** – Yes, I know in the last sentence yours truly used the idiom relating to rare in the incorrect context. However, judging it to be a clever play on the word, along with not being able to think of a none-cliched example in the proper context, it’s staying.

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Sitting at a table adjacent left are an elderly couple who, although making constant eye contact with each other, exchange no words. In a whimsical, yet baffling scene, despite him apparently being bereft of food, the portly man in his dotage’s jaw is moving as though chewing.

Meanwhile, his wife is consuming a toasted teacake, but anaconda-like appears to swallow the fruit bread without prior chewing…. This scene plays out as though the old couple are performing bizarre ESP-like team work to chew and swallow the teacake.

On the adjacent table to my right is a middle-aged woman writing what appears to be a pack of ten M&S Christmas cards. From my cafe pew I’m unable to see the greeting this heavily made up lady is penning the soon to be recipients.

Whimsically, I’d like to think that the message being relayed is something like:-

‘Dear Marjorie****……. Just to let you know, I’m not sending Christmas cards this year. Instead, I’m donating the money saved in card costs and postage to the charity World Ear Wax Fund*****……. Love, Geraldine …… PS, Have you any intention of returning my Cliff Richard CD which you borrowed over a year ago, you cheeky mare!! ‘.

**** – Even if the person isn’t called Marjorie.

***** – A charitable organisation set up to raise awareness of global ear wax declines.

Looking at the branded shopping bags of fellow coffee drinkers reminds me I need to start searching for Christmas gifts for family and friends. Apart from a quirky present for my daughter and her partner, along with tea tree beard oil for a close female friend, I’ve not yet purchased any seasonal offerings.

If truth be told, I’ve no idea what to buy my nearest and dearest. The creative notions emanating freely during my odyssee litteraire sadly not extending to gift ideas. Consequently, I may just give my kids and mater money. Deeming them impersonal and ill-thoughtout birthday or Christmas presents, I’m not a fan of bestowing gifts of money or vouchers…….. That and I’m not keen on showing people how little I spend on them!