Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Advent Day 12

'What is this?' I say, lifting something peculiar from the Advent Box.
'It's a costume,' says Daisy.
'A Make-A-Fool-Of-Yourself-Because-It's-Christmas costume,' says Primrose.
'I don't want to make a fool of myself because it's Christmas,' I say. 'I want to snuggle up in a duvet in front of a real log fire with a pile of books and a tin of shortbread because it's Christmas.'
'Oh, go on,' says Daisy. 'Just put it on. You'll enjoy it. You need to lighten up a bit. You've been far too serious recently.'
'And by serious,' says Primrose, 'we mean 'miserable.'
'Thanks,' I say.
'Oh, we know it's been because of the whole school, Ofsted, moving house that isn't happening thing,' says Daisy. 'Which is all the more reason that the silliness should start now. Go on, take the costume. We've set up a screen for you to change behind. We promise we won't peep.'

So, I take the costume and go behind the screen. Primrose plays a ropey version of 'The Holly and the Ivy' on her harmonica. It's going all right, and then there is a sudden gasp and a cough.
'What's happening?' I say. 'What was that?'
'Don't panic,' says Daisy. 'Just a bit of blow when there should have been a suck. Breathe, Primrose, breathe! Atta girl!'

There is the sound of feathered wing patting feathered back. Strains of 'In the Bleak Midwinter' ensue. Then...
'Ow! Ow, ow, ow ow oooooow!
'Now what?' I say. I am mid-costume. The hens have thoughtfully placed a full length mirror behind the screen, and casting a quick glance in its direction I realise I look a complete idiot.
'It's okay!' shouts Daisy. 'She's just got her lip caught, that's all. Hold still, Primrose. I've got it..........that's right...let me just get the pliers in....'
There is a twanging sound, at the same moment I realise chickens don't have lips.
'Ouch!' ouches Primrose.

Seconds later, the first few bars of 'Jingle Bells' can be heard.

'Shouldn't you stop now?' I say. 'Before you suffer any more harmonica related incidents?'
'Never mind us,' says Daisy. 'Are you ready yet?'
'Yes,' I say, not really wanting to emerge.
'Emerge this instance!' they say.

Reluctantly, I step from behind the screen. I am dressed, head to toe, in dark brown fur fabric. Upon my head , a pair of antlers. Upon my nose, a red flashing ping pong ball.

The hens take one look at me and fall around on the floor, hooting with laughter. I am glad Primrose has removed the harmonica from her beak because she is inhaling deeply, and certainly enough to breathe in the entire instrument and facilitate an emergency trip to the Casualty department.

'You have forced me to dress a Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer,' I say.
'Yes!' shriek the hens. 'You look so funny! This is what Christmas is all about!'
'I'm not sure it is,' I say, but then I catch another glimpse of myself in the mirror, and the corners of my mouth start to twitch.

And, of course, as my dearest daughter Heather will know, when one starts laughing, and other people join in, it becomes difficult to stop, and soon the tears are streaming down our faces.

I don't know if it's relief from the tension of the last couple of days (because there has been nothing to laugh about with Ofsted in the building, that's for certain) but suddenly I feel a whole lot better.

Laughter in an Advent Box. What ever next?'

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