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December 19th 2008
My advent felicitations are long overdue. It's now only a scarily short time until Christmas (and I've still got more Christmas shopping to do than I'd care mention, especially considering the absence of a major city within walking distance right now), and you, my readers, have missed out on several exciting occurrences. First (or what passes for first after that paragraph) allow me to apologise for my prolonged absence from this page - but it's not my fault! Our internet was down, and I didn't feel I could use work time for doing stuff like this. I have far too important a job, what with wearing a tie and everything. Anyhow, I then moved house (there will be photos soonish) where there was no interweb set up, and it was only yesterday that we got it installed (note the double L, my American readership). And, in fact, I'm writing this from Mum and Dad's place in Zummerzet. So, don't blame me, blame a blame pop.
The house-moving means I'm now living with Steve and Spence, two good chaps from church, and has put to an end my time at 1 East Shrubbery. So please, all, update your addresses to 23 Greendale Road - and yes, you're right, that's a 23. A prime, since you ask. Not only that, but if you put my last house number with my current house number, my brother's house number, my old house number and the number of my friend Ben's workplace, you get 01 23 45 67 89. Cool!
'Cool!', by the way, was an assertion of fact, not opinion.
Other notable events include Simon passing his driving test - with only one minor - around the same time I failed my CA3 exam. Yes, the sky did collapse a little, but I'm gradually getting over it. I did, however, pass CT3 and CT6, so it's not all bad news. I can't think of anything else exciting that has happened to me... I bought a shirt... but I'm sure the next few days will be jam-packed with recollections as they hit me. Possibly. Upcoming stuff I'm more sure of (curiously), and it includes a Four Yorkshire Clergy sketch tonight and tomorrow at the Chiselborough Christmas Cracker. This has been subtly amended by Dad from the original Four Yorkshiremen sketch (if you don't know it, you should. I'd provide a link, but you can search Google yourself, you lazy so-and-so), which may or may not have formed the basis of a Four Warwick Students sketch you've probably come across.
Before I go; if you see this, tell your friends, as I fear several have given up on me entirely... a month is a long time in the blogosphere. Thanks to those of you - Darren & Rob - who asked of my whereabouts. In the words of the Terminator: I'[m rea]ll[y] [un]be[lievably] back.

December 23rd 2008
Christmas is a time for complaining. Well, actually, Christmas is a time for celebrating the birth of Jesus, and the beauty of God become man - I'll come back to that on Christmas Day, I hope - but it's also a pretty handy time when it comes to the complaints. Big inflatable Santas, 'political correctness gone mad!' in city councils, nothing on television, anything Post Office related, tinsel on Christmas trees (this could be unique to Simon), the hazards of Christmas shopping, broken fairy lights and so forth. Actually, no one's fairy lights have broken since about 1989, but it's still a niggle.
More complained about that any of the above, though, are Christmas newsletters, those boasting missives that fall out of the card and into the marmalade when you're opening post over the breakfast table. Well, we don't get our post until late and I don't like marmalade, but you get the picture.
I should declare an interest here: I write my own section of a newsletter sent out by Mum and Dad every Christmas, to friends and/or people who sent us a card last year. And when I used the phrase 'boasting missives', I was being a little misleading, as we generally try to keep the boasting to minimal levels - indeed, I tend to go out of my way to ignore A Levels and degrees in favour of breaking my toe or giving myself food poisoning. But there is no denying that a lot of people who send these things out feel that our lives will be enriched by hearing that their children excel at music, sport, art and maths. And have said the funniest things (see pages 4-7).
Most of us, sadly, don't really care if your son has appeared in the local rag after winning an egg-and-spoon race, or if your daughter is really enjoying her time in Spain. And, frankly, if anyone has got better GCSEs than I have, I'd rather not know (I still can't believe that Emma Watson, of Hermione Grainger fame, beat me).
I know I'm being unfair, and that this is merely an outpouring of parental pride. And I guess if someone I could actually remember meeting had done this stuff, and told me themselves over a cup of tea and a hobnob (not a chocolate hobnob), I'd be quite interested. I'm also keenly aware that we're pretty guilty in our own newsletter... twice I've become friends with people who, in their role as children of people who are friends with my parents, have read our newsletter in years past. And I'm a trifle embarrassed.
All the above means I'm not going to complain about boasting newsletters too much. Well, not any further, anyhow. What really has got my goat this year is the other side of the coin: the misery-filled letters. Rather than detailing the successes of the year, a lot of newsletters now consist mainly of the family members who have fallen downstairs, the houses that have been flooded and the next-door neighbours who have been secretly stealing milk for decades. Call me a traditionalist, but I think Christmas should be a time of joy and so forth, and the matter is dampened slightly if every mouthful of turkey is rendered bitter by the rememberance that Auntie Claire's labrador has broken its leg.
So, in the spirit of yuletide, if you must send a newsletter - and the Thomas family round robin doesn't look set to die a death any time soon - fill it with joy and happiness. Don't quote your old tennis coach's obituary.
what was I listening to?
Lust for Life - Iggy Pop
what was I reading?
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - JK Rowling
what was I watching?
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