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.

25 thoughts on “The Friday before Christmas.

  1. Gimli says:

    “Sow this is Christmas, and what have you done…”

  2. Mr Wibble says:

    Chris Rea. Jimmy Nail. Genius I say…

  3. Eliza says:

    I think it’s comical genius. they are plebs.

  4. Brom says:

    There is nothing worse at Christmas than having others hamper your sense of humour.

  5. JonnyB says:

    Thank you Eliza. I am feeding caviare to pigs. It is inexcusable for somebody with my talents.

    I have just had a slice of gammon for lunch. It is still very nice, albeit a bit covered in blue bits.

  6. bob the bolder says:

    “Wish I was a ham for Christmas”

    It was Jona Lewie, remember?

  7. bob the bolder says:

    bloody hell! – I put in the YouTube link for Mr Lewie’s chanson.

    And it hasn’t appeared!

    Try again –

  8. brian says:

    I finish my pint bad-temperedly and consider rejoining them after the next one.

    Classic line, Mr B.

  9. Gail says:

    It went down almost as well as that lightbulb joke then….

  10. Z says:

    You’re hamazing, JonnyB.

    The blue bits scrape off nicely, but still leave a piquant tingle on the tongue, don’t they?

    We’ve nearly finished ours. Just one more pie and a round of sandwiches to go.

  11. Linda says:

    I didn’t get it either. I don’t know the song, the singer or what the heck a gammon is. If I have enough to drink, though, I will laugh at anything.

  12. Mr Wibble says:

    I just had lunch with Chris Rea and Jimmy Nail. They’d like to know where their ham is.

  13. tillylil says:

    What blonde and what incident? Is this an archive or material for a new blog?

  14. Ole Phat Stu says:

    Hoom did he deliver them 2?

  15. guyana-gyal says:

    After finishing that pint bad-temperedly you should’ve have a hot cross pun or two with a nice cuppa to cheer you…oh wait, hot cross puns are for Easter.

  16. What, are you Orthodox now? Christmas was weeks ago. We have all moved on. Let’s have some more topical stuff about the Snooker Club or the sausage machine. You can’t leave quality narratives like those lying idle, you know. It’s not fair on the fans…

  17. Debster says:

    Driving lightbulbs for Christmas?

  18. This is upsetting to read. It was a super pun. I have just been considering engineering conversations that allow me to draw attention to the similarity between “hegemony” and “money which one might save especially to buy a hedge [hege]”. I shall heed your moral and wait until I am in the company of intellectuals.

  19. NAGA - Is On Holiday says:

    We didn’t have any ham last Christmas.

    But I’m dreaming of a bite (this) Christmas.

  20. AndyB says:

    Here’s an ideal opportunity to show your vastly superior knowledge and put Eddie firmly in his place.
    Chris Rea is from Middlesbrough, which whilst I grant you is technically the North East, is in fact in Cleveland, the rubbish tip of North Yorkshire, and no-one there says “hooom”!
    Newcastle (and indeed Sunderland) where you might hear “hooom”, are 40-50 miles north of there; about the distance between Norwich and Ipswich, in fact.

  21. Heather says:

    In protest to your ham pun, I’m going to think long and hard about becoming a vegetarian for the rest of today.

    Plese don’t disturb me, I’m Quorncentrating.

  22. JonnyB says:

    That is interesting Andy. I actually have no idea where Middlesbrough is. How would they say ‘ham’ there if it is not ‘hooom?’

    Would it be “Could I have a pound of hiim please”? or “Apparently Gareth Southgate has dropped the entire defence and replaced it with a specially trained ‘ammmm”?

  23. Pat says:

    Wibble’s wight about Cwis and Jimmy.
    You little monkey you just wanted everybody to think they were on the wrong page didn’t you – but you didn’t fool me. Not for long any road!

  24. AndyB says:

    ” ‘Ammmmm” ‘s just about right. It’s a weird mixture of Yorkshire and Mackem (Sunderland) – not at all pleasant like so many regional accents. When I had to move up here 6 years ago, it was all North-East to me too, but there’s quite a difference – and boy don’t they let you know!

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