A time of year when Mr. Grump has to explore that dusty attic

Country Living with Francis Farragher

I cannot say that I either like or dislike the build-up to Christmas. It’s a bit like Ireland and neutrality – what’s the point in taking sides when you have no real power over what’s going to happen in the end-game. Anyway, I was taken aback a bit last week when there was mention of retrieving the Christmas lights and decorations from the attic. I didn’t really mean to groan, when I heard the request, but it just seemed to elicit a reflex guttural noise from the deepest recesses of my throat. Oh yes, that time of year was nearly here again.

Most men probably don’t have any basis for complaining too much about the Christmas workload. Pleading ignorance about having any knowledge of appropriate presents to purchase normally works very well . . . in the world we live in today, it’s just a matter of revoluting the cash ‘divide’ to the main purchaser, invariably a female.

The thought of locating dusty decorations and lights from a network of cardboard boxes – even with a bit of welcome help – is probably the worst part of the process, because when we get into the thick of the whole ‘jolly season’ rigmarole, most of us seem to be subsumed with the hail-fellow-well-met spirit of the occasion.

If there’s one good thing about ageing – and there aren’t too many – it’s the self-preservation instinct that slowly but surely has informed our brains that if we drink too much of the quare stuff or consume excessive amounts of rich food, we’ll feel ill. And if there’s another brain alarm buzzer about ageing, it’s that you certainly don’t want to make yourself sick.

Bad enough to have to face you GP with dodgy gall bladders, knee creaks, blocked noses and tennis elbows, without having to admit to him that you were the best part of a week recovering from the Christmas office party. Alas, all in the distant past [I think!].

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