Saturday, 14 December 2013

The Fourteenth Day of Advent - In Which Some 1970s Crimble Cringe Makes An Appearance

The sleigh had landed in a woodland clearing so the reindeer could rest and have a nibble of some delicious bark and nutritious moss. They grumbled a bit, because they much preferred cheese on toast  and apple crumble, but cooking facilities were scarce. As was cheese, and bread. And apple. And crumble.

Still, a fire was lit, and Harold found some marshmallows in his pocket, so a merry time was had by most of the intrepid explorers involving toasting things on sticks, except for Merrily Onhigh who announced she was a vegetarian and couldn't eat marshmallows on account of the gelatine. Luckily, Santa had a packet of Scottish shortbread leftover from the last time he stayed in a Premier Inn, so Merrily had a nibble on those, and they all agreed the fire was lovely, but it would be a good idea to find a nice eatery in time for breakfast. 

'And we still haven't found any Wise Men,' sighed Mrs Pumphrey. 'I hope our search for the Last No L doesn't end here.'

'It can't,' said Tango Pete, putting a comforting wing around Mrs P and giving her a squeeze which made them both blush a little. 'It's only 14th December. We have another 10 days until Christmas.'

'I'm surprised we've made it this far,' says Daisy.

'Me, too,' says Primrose. 'Nice new feathers, by the way.'

'They are rather good, aren't they?' says Daisy, doing a bit of a twirl. 'I thought I was going to be semi-bald forever, and then suddenly - BOING! - there they were.'

'And what is Denise doing?' says Primrose, nodding towards Much Malarkey Manor. 'That's the twentieth time I've seen her walk past with the garden trug.'

'Just had a delivery of logs in readiness for the arrival of the woodburner,' says Daisy. 

'She's very organised isn't she?' says Primrose. 'And look at those muscles!'

'And she's only tripped over her wellies twice. Classic comedy moments both,' says Daisy.

The fire died down and the travellers were ready to continue their journey. And just as Harold Angel was climbing back aboard the sleigh, there came a loud, 'PARP!'

'Scuse me,' said Harold. 'Bit of repetition there.'

'Oh,' said Tango Pete, 'if you hadn't said anything I would have thought it was that taxi over there.'

(Old Joke Number 1)

Everyone turned to look where Tango Pete was pointing. And there, driving across the woodland clearing was, indeed, a large black taxi cab of the traditional London variety (purely for aesthetic reasons, because the author thought it would look nicer in the story than a 1995 Peugot with its bumper held on by string.)

And hot on the heels of the taxi there came a car (also parping), and behind the car, a scooter. Beeping its hooter. 

'And now,' says Daisy, 'it befalls to us to explain the Old Joke Number 2. When Denise was at primary school in the 1970s, she and her peers used to sing the first verse of 'We Three Kings' thusly -'We Three Kings of Orient are, One in a taxi, one in a car. One on a scooter beeping its hooter, Following yonder star.'

'Just in case you were confused,' says Primrose. 'Because it might have been a weird Kentish thing.'

The taxi, the car and the scooter came hurtling towards the sleigh.

'They're going to hit us!' shrieked Mrs Pumphrey, whose spatial awareness was very acute regarding these things.

'Not if I can help it!' shouted Santa, who'd had his sleigh for a couple of hundred years now, and wasn't about to trade it in for a new one just yet. He stepped in front of the taxi, the car and the scooter, took off his red cape and waved it in the air with a rousing shout of 'STOPPPPPPP!!!!!!'

There was a squeal of brakes - eeeeeekkkkkkkk - and the front of the taxi stopped about half an inch from the front of the sleigh, a bit like that moment in 'The Railway Children,' where Jenny Agutter stops the train by waving her red flannel petticoat at it. Luckily, unlike Jenny, Santa did not faint with the drama of it all, but then he is made of manly stuff and has seen many sights over the years that would quite frankly make the toes of your average chap curl.

Immediately, the drivers of the taxi, the car and the scooter leapt from their various modes of transport.

'What are you doing?' shouted Santa. 'Driving like loons!'

'We are following yonder star!' shouted the Three Wise Men, for hurrah, it was them!

'What star?' shouted the assembled chorus.

'THAT star!' shouted the Wise Men, pointing into the sky. 'And now, because we've had to stop, we're going to lose track of it.'

'Well, hop on board!' shouted Santa, starting a bit of a scramble to get aboard the sleigh.

'There's a lot of shouting going on, isn't there?' says Daisy.

'What?' says Primrose, who was by now wearing her comedy penguin earmuffs.

The sleigh shot into the sky, Santa frantically trying to set his satnav in order to track the star.

'It's not very big, is it?' said Tango Pete, who felt slightly disappointed by the lack of overall brilliance, brightness and awesomeness of it. 

One of the Wise Men turned to face him. 'Sometimes,' he said, 'the best, most precious and important things in this world appear, on first sight, to be the least significant.'

'That's a very wise observation,' said Tango Pete.

'I am like it says on the packet,' said the Wise Man.


Countryside Tales said...

Phew! They've arrived. How lucky was that? I was beginning to worry. X

Olly said...

Haha, I recognised the 'We Three Kings' reference immediately ... doesn't everyone learn that version? Along with 'While Shepherds Washed Their Socks By Night'and other favourites.

Denise said...

My dear CT, luck had nothing to do with it. It was all down to meticulous story arc planning. (Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!)

Well, Olly, I had to put in the explanation because sometimes I say to Andy, 'Do you remember that rhyme/ song/ breakfast cereal etc etc we used to have as kids?' And he looks at me like I am bonkers, and it turns out that my rhyme/ song/ breakfast cereal etc etc was some peculiar down South thing that never made it up t'North!

But then I once made the mistake of thinking that Park and Ride Buses were a Southern Thing. Andy laughed so much I thought he would burst. He's never let me forget it.