With Christmas Day hurtling towards us with the speed of a linen basket escaping a pair of The Grinch’s three week worn underpants, I’m concerned to be still awaiting delivery of half the festive gifts I purchased online in the middle of November…… In hindsight, perhaps it was misguided to order my daughter Rachel a Christmas present consisting of a pet sloth family, particularly one who stubbornly insisted on walking to my abode.

As the advent day numbers ascend in haste, to enhance the celebratory yuletide feel to the family residence, I’ve ramped up the pomp and circumstance accompanying the advent calendar opening ceremony.

For instance, yesterday when prising cardboard door 19 ajar it was to an accompaniment of a distant robin redbreast whistling Edelweiss (from movie The Sound of Music) while perching on an outside windowsill. A beautifully melodic musical offering which moved me almost as much as the movie version of this aurally pleasant refrain; in that instance the lament crooned by actor Christopher Plummer.


Admittedly, training the robin to canorously toot the Rodgers and Hammerstein tune wasn’t an easy task. However, I selected this form of musical delivery after concluding vocally coaching an avian’d be a darn sight easier than persuading Christopher Plummer to perform the romantic refrain in the modest comfort of my West Yorkshire home.

I’d proffer with some confidence that the actor, who played Captain Von Trapp in director Robert Wise’s 1965 movie, would be mightily indifferent to venture from his home in Toronto, Canada to provide ceremonial backing music to the opening of my advent calendar’s door 19….. Or indeed any other door opener.

In fact, I’d go one further and submit that, now at 90 years of age, Plummer’s emotion would be far stronger than indifference to the journey to my UK residence. His rejection of the request’d be no doubt delivered with the same scornful disdain hurled at Kurt (his on-screen daughter’s one time suitor) on hearing the 18 year old Austrian lad had defected to the Nazis during the Anschluss***.

*** – The 1938 annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany.

Yours truly visited Toronto in October. With a bit of foresight, while Ontario in situ, I could’ve maybe popped round to Christopher Plummer’s house and requested he performed/recorded the last song ever written by Oscar Hammerstein II…… It certainly would’ve been a darn sight less complicated than spending two months training a robin red breast to trill Edelweiss.

Well, that’s in the event old Plums (as no-one known Christopher Plummer) would’ve granted me and my tape recorder access to his Ontarian mansion…… Hmmmmm, on reflection, I’d have been training the robin wouldn’t I?!

On commencing this paragraph I received a phone call advising that two of the online purchases I allude to above have finally arrived….. About bloody time Mr and Mrs Sloth!!…. Any idea how long the kids are going to be?!

This morning has proved fruitful for GJ Strachan. As well as penning this blog, finally completing the purchase of none online Christmas presents he’s bequeathing friends and family. Benefactions which he’s already enveloped in the finest festive wrapping paper which money can buy….. Well, in Card Factory anyhow!