I am feeling festive.
The decorations are up; presents are stacked in the fireplace. What’s more, Len the Fish has just delivered a spectacular honey-roast gammon.
There is nothing more Christmassy than Len the Fish’s gammon. Each year he takes orders from all and sundry, collects the meat directly from the abattoir and then smokes and roasts it at his cottage. I toast Len the Fish and his gammon at the Village Pub – he has dropped mine off first and is now on a delivery tour of the villages in his pickup truck, accompanied by his loyal dogg.
He walks through the double-doors much later, and plonks himself down at the bar.
“Len’s a bit late tonight,” comments John.
“Yes,” I reply, as quick as a flash. “He has been driving ham for Christmas.”
There is loud laughter. I am delighted with my quick-witted joke. I continue loudly laughing for as long as I can, to encourage anybody else to join in.
“You what?” says John.
“Len,” I reply. “He’s been ‘driving ham for Christmas.’”
It is annoying when you come up with solid gold material but waste it on people with unsophisticated senses of humour.
“Driving ham for Christmas. Like Chris Rea sings. The Christmas song. ‘Driving Home for Christmas’.”
Sometimes it is frustrating living amongst the old and infirm. I have a policy of not criticising my neighbours but the cutting edge of music and culture just passes them by. Most of them have not even heard of Face Book.
“Except he is from the North East,” I try to explain. “So it sounds like he is singing ‘Driving Ham for Christmas.’”
“If he’s from the North East,” interjects Eddie, “then he’d be singing ‘Driving Hooom for Christmas.’” I look at him in annoyance. “Hey – Len!” he calls. “Have you been out delivering hoooms?”. This is typical Eddie. He is a stirrer. I have still not forgiven him after the incident with the blonde.
Len the Fish and his dogg give us nonplussed looks. “Don’t worry about it,” I say. “How are you, anyway?”
“Sorry – I still don’t understand,” says John. “Chris Rea sings ‘home’. Not ‘ham’. Surely.”
Christmas is a time for family. I finish my pint bad-temperedly and consider rejoining them after the next one.