Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Christmas to all our Readers!

The Legatus is not fond of Christmas, or at least, all the nonsensical commercial frippery attached to it and tries to ignore it as much as possible.  Unfortunately, my wife and daughter love it and have surpassed themselves as regards the installation of a ludicrously over the top Christmas display in our living room this year.  This is what 31 boxes of Christmas decorations looks like.  No wonder there is no room in the loft for my boxes of plastic figures!  What's worse is that the two armchairs that usually sit here are now in my study, the door into which you can just glimpse through the forest.  As a result I have no access to most of my DVD collection so had no luck when trying to extract my favourite anti- Christmas film, Gremlins, for a late night spin the other day.  I went off to try to buy some Champagne at the supermarket today, in anticipation of my birthday in January, (there are some superb half price offers on at present) but gave up when faced with a non-moving, 400 yard queue to get into Sainsburys car park.  On Friday it took me 20 minutes to find a free parking slot in our local Tesco.  It could have been worse, it took my sister-in-law two hours to get out of Tesco's car park in Salisbury on Friday! Madness!

Kelly Brook, a most unlikely, but nonetheless welcome, Christmas angel

Perhaps people are stocking up because the end of the World didn't happen last week, as it surely can't be because the shops are shut for one whole day next week.  I have to go down to my sister in law for Christmas lunch this year rather than my sister, who has decided to de-camp to Australia for the holiday.  This is a most depressing prospect as my sister cooks an excellent Christmas lunch whereas my sister in law is to cooking what Kelly Brook is to particle physics.  You get one slice of Turkey, one (burnt) sausage, one bacon roll, one potato and three sprouts.  If you're lucky.  If you're unlucky one of my children's cousins hoovers up all the sausages before you can get to them.  There is no starter, no stuffing, no peas, no carrots and no wine!  The problem is that my wife's family has no interest in food (or drink) whatsoever.  My father-in-law puts Worcester Sauce on everything (he even asked for it when eating in Gordon Ramsay at Claridges - he was lucky not to be thrown out).  My wife largely lives on Slimfast shakes because she can't be bothered to make herself lunch.  My mother-in-law (an otherwise estimable woman) has said if she could take one pill a day with all the required nutrients in she would, rather than waste time with eating.  Argh!  

I'd volunteer to cook it myself except they have an AGA, a worthless piece of outdated nineteen twenties technology, which should have been scrapped fifty years ago.  The AGA was invented in Sweden (Aktiebolaget Svenska Gasaccumolato) which is to haut cuisine what Kelly Brook is to neurosurgery. It might work well at heating freezing Nordic kitchens but as a means to cook anything it is utterly useless. It only has two rings for a start. Only someone totally disinterested in cooking would own an AGA! It dries out a Turkey so that it has a texture like shredded rubber from the sole of a twenty-five year old deck shoe. This probably explains why the Legatus always loses weight over Christmas! Sigh!

I only remember my father giving me two pieces of advice: "Don't ever dance.  Dancing is only for women, children, homosexuals and black people" and "there are only five important things in life: food, wine, women, art and music and they are all basically the same thing."   So that's probably why I have opened one of my remaining bottles of Mouton Rothschild today and am drinking it whilst listening to Meredith Willson's excellent two symphonies, which I have recently discovered.  Willson is better known for writing the musical The Music Man and more pertinently for this time of year, the seasonal standard, It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  All I need is my Canadian friend Sophie in her little Santa outfit  (it's the boots that do it) and I would feel rather more festive than I do.  

Speaking of particle physics, my tragic daughter asked for the thrilling volume SuperFuel: Thorium, the Green Energy Source of the Future for Christmas.  I think that could be nearly as bad as the bottle of Draino my wife asked for once.  My son asked for an iPad mini; the search for which began to resemble the quest for El Dorado.  I'm sure Apple are deliberately restricting the availability of these. After telephoning John Lewis every four hours for four weeks we tracked one down in Cheadle (wherever that is).  

Time-wasting machine

To add to my pre-Christmas cheer I have to write two strategy documents by the end of December.  One thing about being a consultant is that you don't get any days off. If you don't work you don't get paid. So Christmas Day and Boxing Day is costing me £1500 in non-chargeable days.  Grr!  What I really want to do  is get some painting done but if I try to do any when my wife is around I get harangued for not helping the children with their revision.  They both have re-takes in January on account of being bone idle slackers who spend all their time playing Xbox or watching Made in Chelsea rather than revising.  One of the other parents at Guy's school actually threw their son's Xbox out of his bedroom window.  Something I can sympathise with!

My current two legions need a boost

In fact, I did get a bit of painting done today on some ACW figures and some Back of Beyond ones, which were a complete impulse buy a couple of weeks ago.  However the light had gone by three so that's why I'm writing this instead!  I also bought a lot of Carthaginian Wars period Romans off eBay a week or so ago as I have decided to boost the size of my two painted legions for this period.  Currently they are in 12 figure units but I want to push these up to 24 figure units.  I have also based some Lusitanians which I might have a go at in the New Year.

I will do a proper review of the year the week after next!

Ho, ho, ho!


  1. The solution: Make the most of the festive, er fun(?) and take your own wine. Drink the wine without sharing, insist on playing the "Lumberjack Game" and cut down the trees in the lounge. Then chuck the Xbox out with the burnt turkey remains! That will be a Christmas everyone will remember...or be a chicken like me, smile and pretend you are having fun! Merry Christmas!

  2. I feel better already! Merry Christmas to you too!

  3. I am with down the wine and smile and wave!
    Merry Christmas!

  4. Have a great Christmas, i was in Sainsbury's today with my trolley full of Christmas shopping, I had to wait 20 in the queue to pay, i wasn't a happy bunny!
    Have a great Christmas!

  5. Happy xmas Stephen!

    Why not go for deliveries? Ocado dropped all the xmas food off tonight, in our kitchen. I think I only went inside a proper supermarket once this entire year. Many hours saved for fine brushwork...

    Cheers, Simon

  6. Those Christmas trees are the most impressive thing I've seen this Christmas, you should be proud! You could actually hide in there with the bottle of wine if all else fails...

  7. Shouldn't that be ho bloody ho?? I'm with the others... take your own booze and take up smoking - no one lets you smoke in doors any more so it's the perfect excuse to leg it behind the garden shed for a little tipple, and a bite from a home delivered Pizza Hut Deep Pan Stuffed Crust Turkey pizza with extra anchovies and cranberries....