Sunday, February 26, 2006
The first part of Operation Christmas Rescue (OCR) goes smoothly. All day, I keep out of mum and dad's way. Dexter comes by and we work very hard. Dexter thinks the attic would make a brilliant clubhouse but we already have one of those in the garden. By the end of the afternoon, Granpa Jack's bedroom is ready. He has:
A carpet-I couldn't find any lying around, so we cut a nice big square from under my bed, where no-one will miss it.
A bed-two old sleeping bags zipped together and a pillow Serena doesn't use anymore.
A light-all the candles I could find and my miner's lamp.
Reading stuff-a few copies of my magazine, 'The Way Things Work'.
Dexter even found a tin of paint in the garage. So we painted half a wall before giving up because painting things is actually quite boring.
Now to part two of OCR-the tricky part.
'Mum? Can I go round to Dexter's for tea?'
She looks up from reading the paper at the kitchen table. Dad is taking mince pies out of the oven.
'Well, I suppose so. Be back by seven thirty, Wilfred. It's Christmas. You don't want to be over excited.'
I grab my coat and scoot. Dexter has legged it already and is half way down the front garden. I catch him up and we run down the road towards, 'The Pit of Despair'.
Now this is what I call, doing something interesting.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Granpa Jack definitely needs cheering up. He is miserable in the Pit of Despair and I know Mum and Dad would really LIKE him to come back here. They keep saying they don't have the room. So I sit on the stairs and think about what room we do have.
1. My inventroom-but there's hardly enough room for me and Dexter, let alone Granpa Jack.
2. Mum and Dad's room-but there's no room for another bed in there and Dad wouldn't want another person in their bed, even though it's quite wide.
3. The Box room. This is full of boxes.
4. The attic. This is full...of nothing!
So, I run up the small flight of stairs and up to the gnome-sized, attic door. It's a bit stiff but one good heave and I'm in. On Planet Parent they are always making plans and one of their big plans is about clearing out the attic so they can do something with it. But they never do anything, so I'm doing them a favour actually. A quick description. The attic is a long, thin room. I can see the thick dust caught in the light coming in through a small square window at the far end. I step forwards so I can just stand up and peer into the gloom. There is a definite draught coming from somewhere which should blow away the dust and Granpa Jack prefers sitting down to standing up, so all in all it should be great for him. I'll just have to find some candles, a bed, a piece of carpet and a few copies of, 'The Racing Post'. This will do nicely.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Can you believe it? Here are a couple of the diagrams showing how they could be put together. All we need is some snow now.
Monday, February 20, 2006
After Mum left I knew what Granpa Jack was going to say next.
'Are those wretched cats still crawling all over the back garden?'
'Yes. And Serena but she's nice, she's mine.'
'You want to get a dog, my boy, or a couple of horses-you know where you are with those animals.'
I wonder what Mum and Dad would think to horses and dogs churning up the vegetables and the grass. 'I don't think Mr Edwin Beard Budding would like it,' I say, 'he was very fond of lawns.'
'What's that?!' Granpa Jack's voice goes up until it's just a squeak, 'Have you got a lodger in all ready? My bed's hardly empty before your Unspeakable Parents let this Pear-Pudding fella in?'
'No! Granpa Jack! We don't have anyone else!' I try to explain but he's just not listening.
'Have you still got that water gun I gave you for your birthday?' he asks.
'Well, yes but...' I begin to say. I can't tell him that Mum and Dad took it away because it wasn't very nice.
'Good. We'll use it on this Pudding fella and those cats while we're about it. That'll cheer me up.' Granpa Jack snorts. 'Mind you. It's so blessed miserable here, I'll probably have died by Christmas! Mind you tell your Unspeakable Parents that! '
'It's only two more days, Granpa Jack! I could come and visit you,' I hate it when he talks about dying-he does that alot. Dad says, he'll never die but he doesn't really think about what a damp and draughty bedroom together with a diet of breadcrusts and stinky fish can do to an old person like Granpa Jack.
'NO! No, dear boy-you'll be set upon by the hounds. No, just chat to your old Granpa Jack.'
So I tell him about our visit to Santa's Tent-Grotto and he laughs and tells me I'm a tonic. 'You take my mind off The Pit of Despair, my boy. Ta-ra for now!'
I put the phone down and start to think.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Granpa Jack lives in, 'The Pit of Despair' (see above), that's what he calls it. This makes him quite grumpy. Mum and Dad call it, 'St Agnus' Home for the Elderly'. And this also makes him quite grumpy.
He used to live in our house until Dad chucked him out and that made me quite grumpy.
The next day it is still not snowing-even though it is the day before Christmas Eve Day! I am expecting a return call from the speaking clock. This clock is accurate to within five thousandths of a second, which is a very interesting and useful fact. So when the telephone rings, I rush into the hall to answer it.
'Don't ever get old, Wilf my boy!' bellows Granpa Jack.
I shake my head. 'All right, Granpa Jack.'
'You'll end up parcelled off and shoved into the 'Pit of Despair', like this one! With cockroaches and lice in your bedroom and unspeakable food!'
Mum is standing next to me. 'Granpa Jack?' she mouths and I nod. 'Remind him about Christmas.'
'Nobody will remember your birthday, nobody will come and visit you. And did I tell you, dear boy, I lost my last two horse races?'
'Yes, you did. Mum says to remind you that you're coming for Christmas.'
'She wouldn't have to remind me if I was still living there, in my real home, instead of an old folks home! I'd rather live in an outside lavvy than here. Be a sight more comfortable I can tell you!'
Mum is still watching me carefully.
'I wish you were still living here too, Granpa Jack,' I say, watching Mum's lips go taut before she walks away. That was a mean thing to do but I do want him here. He's fun. Tell you more tomorrow.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
I'd better finish this bit of my story as you're probably wondering what happens next. I left you (well me actually) in the kitchen searching for my Christmas presents...
So, downstairs the moon is shining through the kitchen window, making everything sparkly. I flash my head-torch over by the washing machine and startle Serena the cat out of her basket. She miaows loudly.
'Sorry, Serena-let me just look in here,' and I pull the blanket off her suspiciously high bed and-BINGO! 'Got them!'
The presents are wrapped but I can tell what they are. They are always the same; books and an educational game. I put them back with a note:
"Dear Father Christmas
I would like a motorised toboggan
Course, I don't believe in Father Christmas but I hope that on Planet-Parents, they take the hint. I am about to go back to bed and think about snow, when I trip over Serena's food bowl. She is still complaining and pawing at my leg.
'Do you want some food, Serena?'
'Miaow!' This means, yes but I can't find the catfood.
'Do you want something intersting to eat?'
I take half a tin of baked beans out of the fridge and mash them up with some potatoe and trifle. Then I add some brown sauce for luck. Serena sniffs at it and then gobbles it down. I eat the rest of the trifle and go back to bed. Job done. Just needs to snow now.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
'Where do you think the presents will be hidden this year?' I ask Dexter the computer.
It is later on after our visit to Father Christmas. Outside it is still not snowing. My alarm clock is flashing 10.26. It is dark and the house is quiet; only Dexter is humming away in the corner.
'Does not com-pute,' says Dexter, 'I want a ham-ster.'
I sigh and reach inside my bedside drawer for my miner's head torch. It's not a real one, I had to make it. I had a small torch for Christmas last year and then I took the elastic out of a pair of Granpa Jack's enormous pants. Then I tied it the elastic to the torch. I could strap this round my head so that it didn't fall down, unlike Granpa Jack's pants, which did fall down. He thought it was really funny. Mum and Dad did not. They just don't understand science like me and Granpa Jack. Actually Dexter and his hamster has given me an idea. Every year Mum and Dad try to hide the presents from me. This is so they can pretend they come from Father Christmas. Last year they were inside Mum's desk-that was so easy. But this year, I think they've asked an animal to help out and that can only be Serena, the cat. Mainly because when I came into the kitchen the other morning, Mum began talking about computers and how useful they were (HA!) whilst trying to shove Serena into her suspiciously well padded basket. She looked like the cat-princess and the pea. Hmmm.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
After the parents had disappeared back into the tent-grotto together with my mince pie, I look around for something interesting to do. There aren't so many people in the market square now-not since the Christmas lights fused anyway. Some stalls have even packed up and gone. The candle stall is all right though. There's lots of light there, in fact they are the only people smiling at me. Even Santa had to get out his purse and buy a few candles to light the way to his tent-grotto which is flapping about a bit in the wind now. It's cold and I begin to wonder how long it takes to exchange action-man for something educational. I also begin to wonder if the the billowing tent-grotto will fall down on top of them. Just to be sure, I decide to do That Nice Mr Parkin a favour-even though he doesn't deserve it. I tighten up the ropes holding the tent in place. It's hard work but by the time I'v e finished they are good and straight. Not that he'll thank me of course, he's not that nice.
'We've found you something much better dear,' says mum coming back.
She is clutching a very small, blue toy rabbit.
'Ooh! Where did that come from?' says dad, tripping over the nearest tent rope.
Suddenly I have a bad feeling about the tent ropes. 'I'd like to go home now,' I say, pulling at dad's hand.
PING! SWOOSH! FLUMP!
The tent-grotto flies off into the cold night sky like a large clumsy bird. And now we can all see Father Christmas and his elf sitting down together, with their legs up on chairs. They are drinking something steamy from large mugs.
'Look! he's taken his beard off!' I say.
And then I see it, whizzing through the air, above our heads. Santa jumps up, spilling his hot drink, so that he leaps about quite alot while pointing at his flying beard. Now he looks very cross and he's coming towards us. Something's up, I can tell. Mum and dad look at each other and then at me.
'Let's get a taxi,' says dad and he's already running across the square, 'there's one!'
Friday, February 03, 2006
So, I try and explain about the other year and the beard thing.
'There was a fly in it,' I say, 'I was trying to get it out of your beard before it went up your nose-I was only 7 and 1/2.'
But Father Christmas, That Nice Mr Parkin, is reaching into his post office sack.
'Here's your gifty, little boy, now take it!' says Santa grabbing at his beard as though I'm going to rip it off again. 'Happy Christmas and GOODBYE!'
Santa's elf, That Nice Mrs Parkin, comes rushing through and pushes me out of the back tent-flap.
'Hello, dear,' says mum. 'Did you say sorry?'
She is sipping something hot and steamy. Dad comes over with three mince pies. They are looking happy again. I decide to keep it that way.
'Yes,' I say.
They beam at one another. 'What did Father Christmas give you, Wilfred?'
I unwrap the present. It is an action man.
'Oh really!' says mum. 'You cannot have that!'
'Why not?' I ask.
Dad snatches the toy out of my hands. 'We don't want you to play with army things, Wilfred-they're not very nice! We'll go and swap it for something nicer-STAY THERE!'
'But Dexter's got loads of action men and guns at home,' I begin to say.
But my mum and dad have gone back into the tent. Dad did not even leave me with a mince pie.