This morning, upon opening door 17 of the Strachan advent calendar, I was startled when confronted by a sharp creaking sound. Uncertain of its source, I concluded the noise had either emanated from my yet to warm up middle aged limbs, or was a consequence of rusty calendar door hinges.

With the festive adornment’s cardboard composition,  I swiftly concluded this piercing screech to be the former. A scenario meaning there’s no requirement to administer WD40 on the remaining doors…….. That being said, I should probably start upping my daily glucosamine intake, negating against ever crepitate joints. Or maybe test to see if WD40’s fit for purpose at abating human skeletal grinding.

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, when conventional seating is otherwise engaged, I use it as a makeshift pew.

These days I’ve no need to display the chocolate advent calendar vigilance necessary during my kids fledgling years. Back in halcyon Christmas advents of the 1990’s it wasn’t unusual to witness my young children’s advent calendar doors being opened to display fresh air where chocolate had once laid.

This scenario not necessitating my (now estranged) wife and I employing the sharp investigative services of Hercule Poirot. After all, it appeared pretty clear the absence of candy was consequential of our offspring’s impatience and clandestine pilfering.

That being said, I could be doing my kids Jonathon and Rachel a disservice. The paucity of chocolate behind the cardboard flaps may’ve been a consequence of confectioner Cadburys venturing into the fresh air advent calendar market. The company embarking on a shrewd green yuletide pitch to boost customer oxygen levels and the companies coffers. Highly unlikely, but as juror number 8 (played by Henry Fonda) oft proffered in the movie ‘Twelve Angry Men’, “It’s possible!

I’d submit, though, our suspicions of surreptitious chocolate theft weren’t without basis in fact. An observation born from witnessing evidence of chocolate around Jonny and Rach’s mouths shortly after placing the festive countdown product on the occasional table, come confectionery smorgasbord.

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

Consequently, the 1970’s saw no festive snowy scenes of yuletides yore in the Strachan home. There weren’t pictures of robins, holly wreaths, wise men and shepherds. Instead our Ian, Helen and my advent calendar views were 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. This leading to accusations we were spoiled children; however, I’d like to think our mother and father’s magnanimousness was merely borne from them embracing the festive spirit.

It wasn’t uncommon for one of us to open the door on the 24th December and instead of the nativity scene 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.

My brother, sister and my 1973 yuletide calendar was awash with bulletins of trade union unrest, power cuts and news 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 affluent, we were blessed with a childhood of shelter, food, security and a goldfish named Toby.

Toby was a prize won by our Ian from Newcastle’s Town Moor Fair for guessing the stallholders wife’s weight. It died within five days of this win (that’s the goldfish, not the stallholders wife), yet in that short time we Strachan kids learned a very important lesson….. This pearl of wisdom being, if you sought a long and fulfilling life for a pet goldfish DO NOT feed it egg sandwiches 

As alluded to above, we didn’t live in anything close to poverty. That being said, we may’ve been more affluent if dad hadn’t invested heavily in stock of a luminous hat rim manufacturer. A ridiculous punt which bombed badly, meaning our family budget diminished and we were left with a garage full of high viz millinery rims.

Anyway, I need to make tracks now as I’ve a few pre-Christmas chores on my ‘To Do’ list which need undertaking……. Incidentally, does anyone want to buy a luminous hat rim?….. The kids maybe like them as a day glow frisbee….. Just a thought! 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. taskerdunham says:

    A colleague complained his kids had got the backs off their advent calendars and eaten all the chocolates in one go. They then insisted on opening each day’s doors unobserved.

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