Chestnuts roasting on a open fire

Jack Frost nipping at your nose

Yuletide songs being sung by a choir

Folks dressed up like Eskimos.

Excerpts from this morning’s list of distractions to yours truly’s literary flow. As you can imagine, attempting to concentrate on penning a narrative whilst your nose’s being nipped, in conjunction to the being subject to a tuneless cacophony of a choir, is challenging……. Additionally, I probably should also move away from the fire a tad!

Of course, the lyrics painting an idyllic traditional western Christmas card scene aren’t the current sequence of events being played out in casa Strachan. As you’re probably aware, they’re locutions which make up the inaugural verse of classic yuletide refrain ‘The Christmas Song’.

Although much covered, this comfort blanket of a festive melody was possibly most famously performed by late American crooner Nat King Cole. The Alabama born crooner’s inaugural release of the festive anthem occurring in 1946.

Aural exposure to the first few words of Nat’s silky smooth version enough for me to start pouring the advocaat, grab a mince pie and tell my kids “For the last bloody time, yes Santa Claus has got our house alarm code!”……. Apologies if the latter makes me seem cantankerous, but in my defence my kids are aged 29 and 26 so should quite frankly know better!

This popular festive melody was written by one of my late father’s musical heroes, Mel Torme; penning the work in collaboration with Bob Wells…… I’ve a friend in West Yorkshire called Bob Wells, although I’m pretty sure he isn’t Mel Torme’s co-writer.

My above submission made with the confidence of a man who knows the songwriter bearing that moniker passed away in 1998…… A shame really as it’d be pretty cool to have a mate who’s the ghost of The Christmas Song’s co-writer…… Well, maybe!

Christmas ong

If pressed for a personal favourite festive tune, I’d probably select The Christmas Song. Unless Oasis’ anthem Masterplan starts being classified under the festive genre, which I deem as unlikely……. Again, a big shame, as it’d be fantastic to see lead singer, Liam Gallagher, of the now disbanded group strutting his ‘Manc Walk’ on stage, adorning flashing reindeer antlers and Christmas jumper with the words ‘Bollocks!’ emblazoned upon its breast….. It’d be Christmas entertainment that’d make Morecambe & Wise turn in their graves, but viewers would still flock to see the bands festive ‘reunion’.

Anyhow, I’m digressing, today I intend to pull up Castle Strachan’s metaphorical drawbridge; hoping the equally metaphorical moat keeps away visitors, along with horses of the Trojan variety.

In a state of domestic serenity, on conclusion of this narrative, I aim to sit viewing a Christmas movie with a bowl of popcorn. Accompanied with a different bowl of iced water in which to dip the chestnuts that were roasting earlier.

I’m unsure which movie will grace the Strachan TV at this juncture. I recall this time last year my mother (Maggie) and I scoured the telly schedules looking for similar celluloid distraction. An incident which led to the following whimsical scene being played out in our living room:-

Maggie – “Did you know the film Mrs Minerva’s this afternoon on TCM, Gary.”

Me – “Is that any good?….. I can’t recall ever seeing it.”

Maggie – “Yes, really good…… It’s an old movie made in the 1940’s, which won quite a few Oscars….. I’ve seen it a couple of times and thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Me – “What’s it about?”

Maggie (delivered in a matter of fact manner) – “It’s about a woman called Mrs Minerva.”

At this point there was a short period of silence, while I awaited my mother’s embellishment of her sparse, but well-meaning, movie review…… In a move that amused me, though, none was forthcoming:-

Me (sarcastically) – “After that in depth review I don’t feel there’s any point in watching the movie……. You could have given me a spoiler alert, mum!”

Maggie (ignoring my facetiousness) – “Do you want to watch it then?”

Me – “No!”

My mischief leading to my mother returning to the TV listings pages in search of alternative celluloid viewing options….. Right, I’m going to bring this narrative to a conclusion; I need to double check with mater that Santa is indeed in possession of the house’s alarm code.