Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Keep your Wig On

A little known fact about my Dad is that he wears a wig. When I was little I quite liked his wig; I called it his big hair and he would pretend to make it bark at me. Underneath his big hair is a smattering of microscopic hair and to make up for this he likes to grow an enormous beard. He catches food and insects in it and last Christmas I bought him a special beard brush. Now he likes to weave his beard into a plait which quite frankly is a bit embarrassing.

'A-larm! Midnight! A-larm! Midnight! A-larm! Midnight!'
I wake up with a start. Dexter is flashing blue and green at me.
'Shut up!' I say. 'You'll wake Mum and Dad!'
'You programmed me,' Dexter intones in his annoying way, 'keep your wig on.'
I slip out of bed and put on my dressing gown. It's time for me to make it up to The Parents. I'm getting to be quite an expert at creeping round dark houses, so no need for Granpa Jack's stupid torch. Downstairs in the silvery sitting room the Christmas tree twinkles. I heave the musical vacuum cleaner from behind the sofa and leave it with the rest of the presents beneath the tree. Pity I didn't have a box, underneath the wrapping paper it does look pretty much like what it is but without the music. Good job I've got this extra present. But first there's a job to do. Serena is curled up in front of the fireplace. I find a plate of mince pies and carry them through. Serena must be hungry because she trips me up and the pies go flying. I avoid treading on most of them and pick up one for the plate. I hate mince pies but it has to be done-a mince pie has to be eaten. More tomorrow. feeling too sick to continue.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

But What about my Sock?

This is the carrot house. How amazing would it be to live in a house designed around carrots? Unless there are really big rabbits on the loose and that would just be plain scary. The carrots on the mantlepiece are just normal-sized for the reindeer. The port on the mantlepiece was meant to be for Father Christmas but since I told the Parents, 'the truth about Christmas' Dad has decided that he should finish it off himself.

Everything is really quiet up until bedtime. I stay in my bedroom after tea and look at the snow on the screensaver. It looks less like snow and more like small grey sheep falling from the sky - I suppose it's better than no snow at all.
'Bedtime, Wilfred!' Mum calls from downstairs.
I run down to the sitting room. The Parents are slumped in chairs in front of the fire. They are burning the last of Mum's Christmas present.
'That's a good fire!' I say, trying to cheer them up because I do feel bad about the chairs.
But then I feel worse about telling them the truth about Father Christmas. They had to find out sometime but they have taken it very badly. Still, I stand there waiting for the usual Christmas Eve speeches.
'Goodnight, Wilfred dear,' says Mum and she sighs.
'Goodnight,' says Dad.
'What about my sock?' I ask, 'or a carrot for the reindeer?'
'What's the use?' asks Dad, clutching a large glass of something red.
'But what about a mince pie and some port for Father Christmas?'
'I've drunk it,' says Dad.
'You said he wasn't real, Wilfred,' says Mum. 'So what's the point?'
'I know,' I say and I feel sad because I like to put out the carrots and the mince pies, even if there is no point. 'I'll just go to bed then, shall I?'
This very bad, usually by now they would be busy cooking and singing and smiling.
'Just as you like,' says Dad and he takes a giant swig from his glass.
Oh dear.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Dad Explodes

Dad doesn't explode very often but when he does things get messy. The last time he exploded was in Tesco. He had just read something political in the newspaper of the woman standing in the queue in front of us. He told Mum about it very loudly and she told him to speak quietly. But he just got very cross about the state of things today and woke the woman's baby up. She called him something rude and he EXPLODED. He was even more embarrassing than normal.

So to continue. Dad is looking fit to explode because we've done him a favour.
'Don't tell me that wood,' he points a trembling finger at the neat pile of sticks at his feet. 'Don't tell me that's the antique chair I've been restoring for Mum!'
'There were two of them,' I say but not very loud.
Dad puts a hand through what's left of his hair. This isn't looking good.
'Dexter did one of them,' I say, turning round but Dexter has run off-again.
Don't tell me you've chopped up both of them!' groans Dad.
So I don't-tell him that is.
'Speak then, Wilfred!'
'You told me not to.'
'Don't be cheeky!' he's shouting again. 'Or...or Father Christmas won't be coming!!'
Mum appears in the doorway. She has her disappointed face on. 'Oh, Wilfred, Father Christmas will be unhappy with you.'
I think carefully about how I am going to tell them that Father Christmas is not an actual person. Because right now-
I'm fed up with them.
I'm fed up with Granpa Jack.
I'm fed up with the whole magic of Christmas.
'Well, Father Christmas isn't real anyway! So there! Ha-ha!'
I didn't mean to add the end bits but I couldn't help it.
There is a long pause before Mum says in a really quiet voice. 'We believe in him.'
Her nose turns red and her eyes are leaking.
'I need a drink,' says Dad.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Fascinating Invention No 4-The Tempest Prognosticator

Back to Barometer World. Barometers are all about the weather. This is something the Parents talk about ALOT. Not in an interesting, 'this how clouds are formed and rain is made', kind of way but in a, 'blah blah it's hot' or 'blah blah it's cold', kind of way. The Parents do have a barometer. It is in the hall and Dad likes to tap at it and say stuff like, 'looks like rain' when actually I have read the instructions on the Barometer World website and our barometer is not even set for the correct altitude. I ask you.
The Tempest Prognosticator was invented by Dr Merryweather-seriously, that was his name and he invented it to predict when thunderstorms would come. In 1851, he studied leeches and noticed how they got overexcited when the weather turned nasty. So he stuck them inside a glass dome and when a storm was coming they would rush up the glass and tinkle a little bell. He also got a bit overexcited and called his invention, 'one of the grandest ideas that ever emanated from the mind of man.'
It didn't catch on.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Something Interesting in the Woodshed

These are a bit like the chairs we found in the woodshed. You can see why we chopped them up.

'What are those over there?' says Dexter, pointing at two spindly old chairs in the corner. They are covered in newspaper.
I shrug.
'Dad maybe. They're probably going to the dump...I know! We can chop them up for firewood!' I say.
So we start chopping, one chair each. It's great fun and by the time we are finished, I am quite warm. The chairs are gone and in their place is a satisfying pile of wood for the fire.
'They'll be really pleased,' I say, as we begin lugging it into the kitchen.
'Hello, Wilfred,' says Dad as he fills the kettle. 'Hello, Dexter-what have you two boys been up to?'
Then he drops the kettle in the sink and turns as red as Father Christmas' coat.
'Where did you get that wood?' he asks very, very quietly.
'Your shed,' says Dexter, 'they chopped up really easily.'
'Shed...they...chops,' repeats Dad and his eyes are all poppy.
Something is wrong, I can tell. 'I was just doing what you asked me to,' I say, all the same I'm glad I haven't brought the axe in as well. Dad looks as though he's about to explode. Now what?