RICHARD ORD: Tangled fairy lights and X Factor’s Stevi Ritchie

Richard's fistful of tangled fairy lights.

Richard's fistful of tangled fairy lights.

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Nothing takes the goodwill toward men out of Christmas faster than a mangled ball of fairy lights.

A little-known proverb it may be, but true nonetheless.

I took the day off this week to put up the Christmas decorations and I would say a good hour and a half was spent untangling the fairy lights. You may have had the same patience-sapping experience.

If I didn’t know any better, I’m sure some international terrorist organisation was tangling Christmas tree lights or removing bulbs in an insidious bid to undermine the morale of the nation.

Terrorism in the modern age is fought on new and unexpected battlefields. I mean, who do you think was voting for Stevi Ritchie on the X Factor. Bleedin’ ISIS, wasn’t it?

Needless to say, by the end of the day I had managed to untangle the lights and festoon our home with Santas and suchlike, to the delight of the wife and boys. It would have been nice to have seen the look of wonderment on their faces as they drank in the twinkling tree, but I was recovering in a darkened room. Bauble fatigue.

That said, I was back into the Christmas spirit pretty soon after – unlike those miserable beggars who have been sending out Facebook posts saying they will not be giving Christmas cards this year, but will instead be making a sizeable donation to charity. Lazy gits.

Like untangling fairy lights and wrapping presents, the mind-numbing process of writing Christmas cards to all and sundry is a traditional and necessary evil. It’s a penance for not keeping in touch.

And I don’t buy into their charity donation instead of Christmas card story. Show me the receipt.

What price a Biro-scribbled “Merry Christmas, love the Ords xx” on a 40-for-a-fiver Tesco Christmas card? Priceless, I say.

* Note to all charities. Over the festive period, I will not be making any extra donations to your cause, no matter how worthy it may be, but will instead be taking the time to write out and post Christmas cards to friends and family.

BEEN a while since my wife has added to her list of Michellisms, but she managed to break her long silence with a decent one this week.

Reflecting on a risque joke by Ant and Dec, she remarked that they were “skating close to the wind.”

While not quite in the same league as her classic “he’s as sharp as a button” or my favourite “the greatest comeback since Barabbas,” it’s not a bad entry.

Quiet on the Michellism front she may have been, but she’s not been shy in the verbals (or banter as Jimmy Bullard would have it) directed my way.

I’ve been growing a beard, partly as a respectful nod towards the excellent work of the Beating Bowel Cancer charity organisation and its Decembeard campaign, though mostly as a disrespectful nod towards my own inherent laziness.

The beard was starting to reach that itchy stage and I was toying with the idea of shaving it off.

“Don’t shave it off,” my wife said, “I like it ...”

That’s a nice thing to say, I thought. Then she added: “It hides your chin.”

“Charming,” said I. “I thought my chin was one of my more outstanding features.”

“Well,” she came back, quick as a flash, “It certainly stands out!”

Honestly, she’s so sharp she’ll cut herself. She’s as sharp as that button she goes on about!

I’d continue to take the Mick out of my wife, but it’s not worth the risk. I’d be sailing on thin ice.

SPECIAL mention this week must go to Queen guitar plucker Brian May for championing the most bizarre of appeals.

He’s organising a Live Aid-style rock concert for, erm, Asteroid Awareness Day. It is calling on the world’s governments to plough cash into technology that will alert us of any giant space rocks likely to slam into Earth.

While I will be more than happy to donate to the cause, I doubt May’s Asteroid Aid would raise the necessary amounts to buy the technology to 1. Predict such a collision and 2. Prevent it.

Rather than a multi-billion dollar Star Wars-style asteroid-obliterating nuclear defence system, I doubt a Queen gig these days would raise enough to buy the population of Pennywell a hard-hat each.

He ought to think smaller. Haemorrhoid Awareness perhaps ...