After a perishable food shop yesterday afternoon, along with this mornings procurement/despatch of final gifts, I’m just about ready for the big occasion…… Incidentally, that’s Christmas Day, not the Leeds Utd v Burnley football game on Boxing Day.

The food shop undertaken after a 20 minute socially distanced queue to access the local Marks & Spencer (M&S) Food Hall. The wait made more bearable by the fact a) it wasn’t raining, and b) knowledge the excellent product quality peddled by the retailer would enhance the festive fodder.

A shopping institution set up in 1884 within this very West Yorkshire metropolis, by Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer, M&S’s top end tuck is the food my dreams are made of…… Well, on the occasions fragrant Aussie actress Margot Robbie stands me up in the night vision.

Why it wasn’t called Spencer & Marks is something I’ve pondered for oh….. about five seconds. Or indeed the brand name of Michael & Thomas, Thomas & Michael, Mick & Tom, Tom & Mick, Tommy & Mickey, Mickey & Tommy. A conundrum which the two fellas probably took to their graves. I’d confirm that fact on google search if I thought it’d augment the narrative; however, has this paragraph not suffered enough hooey already?!

In addition to procuring the yuletide vegetables, ingredients for a Full English Breakfast, and seafood for Boxing Day, I impulse bought a basket of shelled mixed nuts, complete with a nutcracker. A product I’d not clapped eyes on since the 1970’s.

This vision evoking memories of when my late dad would wade his way through a basket of the produce while the family sat watching the BBC Christmas Day blockbuster movie. One of the Beeb’s festive broadcasting jewels ordinarily screened back then, following the Queen’s Speech.

As we watched James Bond fight the skullduggery of Dr Kananga and his stooges, or watched how Charlie Bucket secured Willy Wonka’s confectionery legacy, we’d be on constant alert seeking to avoid collateral injury from flying nutshell. These shards hurtled across the Strachan living room as the old man cracked open another walnut, almond or hazelnut.

Not only did my mum, two siblings and I have the jeopardy of losing an eye from this shrapnel, but the ornaments adorning the fireplace were also in the firing line.

There was an instance when a fragment of hazelnut shell ricocheted from a fireplace trinket in almost perfect symmetry to a gunshot on the TV. An episode adding the feeling we were somehow part of the actual movie’s scene. My dad’s nut cracking habit inadvertently providing us with 1970’s surround sound.

I’ve just cracked open a couple of the shells, and it’s a flipping messy job. On occasion it was difficult differentiating between nut or shell from the grains of cracked debris. A concern which’s led to thoughts that come Boxing Day I maybe minus a filling or two.

If truth be told, it’s a right faff removing nuts from their protective coating. I’d hate to think it was my job…….. Unless, of course, the pay and benefits were good, and every day I could eat my weight in hazelnuts gratis.

Yesterday, yours truly also bought a bunch of citrus fruits. Lemon and limes for slicing as beverage accompaniments; the clementines to provide me with vitamin C, slightly diminishing my guilt from providing knowledge not everything I’ll consume will be salt and fat laden.

After an unavoidable change in circumstances, my Christmas Day plans have altered. I’m now going to spend the day of St Nick’s gift delivery at my mum’s, instead of housesitting my marital home. So some of the stuff I procured yesterday will be consumed at the matriarchs castle.

I’m undecided yet if I’ll take the mixed nut basket and cracker over there yet. An unpredictable lady, Maggie mightn’t bear the same nostalgic fondness of rekindling my dad’s Christmas flying shell act…… The miserable so and so!!