For once the adverts match the weather, and so do the dingly-danglies and carols in department stores and supermarkets. Perhaps this is nature's recessionary revenge on the big stores, and indeed on dingly-danglies, because Christmas Day itself is often just a bit damp. Every year thousands of small children who believe in Father Christmas and snow must feel vindicated on the one hand by the pile of stuff in a pillow case called a stocking, only on the other hand to rush to the window and be crushed by a vista of wet tarmac. If it's true I only have to believe hard enough, and you pump high volumes of sparkles and white stuff through my TV programmes, what then - they must ask so often at 5 a.m. on the 25th of December - has happened here?
Well children, this time Jack Frost has said "OK, OK, your mawkish mish-mash of myth and marketing is all but upon you, here's the real thing for free - deep and crisp and even." There are some slight drawbacks. If perchance you have spent the night in your Ford Focus on the M8 in Scotland wondering why Armageddon was unexpectedly white (hi Steve), you will be less charmed than, say, a redundant teacher who is a little unbalanced but is at least looking out from an upstairs window. If you are planning to clomp about Hardacre Collage in your hiking boots hoping to be clocked by senior managers before going home early, then you will slightly resent a former colleague gazing out at the hoary beauty of his own back garden while you get there.
We all have to share the hard times, though, as our Government so correctly but hypocritically point out. Thus it is that the Head of Animal Care is today walking to Pilates, the bloody battery for the Fruitcake Miniature College transport having been unable to cope with demand. Likewise, Fruitcake himself has been a worry, as faithful readers will know. He is having to curtail excursions into the back lanes, drink indoors, and make up for it all by sleeping a lot and being exceptionally choosy about what to eat.
Nevertheless, those of us who grew up in the fifties and sixties are, obscurely, on the same side as Jack Frost. We remember ice on the insides of windows, not to mention dressing next to a smelly parafin heater. We remember Christmas as yards and yards of going to church and making stuff out of paper. There was our primary school party - all flour, sugar, colouring, the things made out of paper, and of course carols. It was very heavy on Baby Jesus. Your Christmas stocking was actually a sock, with an orange in the bottom of it. There were other things in it too; I think there was a lot of that sixties plastic that was a bit like tough toffee, also Mars Bars, that kind of thing. Christmas dinner, like it or not, included sprouts and bread sauce. We shared the hard times all right. The cat lived outside, by the way. Funnily enough, it was way back then (1957 to be precise) when Harold Macmillan told us that we "had never had it so good." Lord Young recently, you may remember, didn't get away with expressing the same sentiment.
But FMC does like Christmas, doesn't it? Please say yes. Oh alright then, maybe once it's arrived. The official FMC position is that real snow is wonderous (sorry Steve on the M8), fake snow is crap (sorry Sir Tesco), sprouts are actually not too bad, something roasted is great, along with proper beer, family and good friends, oh and single malt - not to mention, of course, the temporary cessation of any work at all - and, yes, carols, mawkish though they sometimes are. So do come along to the Fruitcake Miniature College end of term Christmas party. Venue: these electric paragraphs, time and date TBA