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Tuesday, December 13, 2005
A Christmas Story for 2005-in II parts)
(Noel at Ron and Effs place)
(Part I – Preparations)
(All resemblances to living or dead are purely required and wished)
Ron slammed the freezer door shut, breathed a sigh of relief, and looked around to see what else he could get wrong! Eff has been watching, and, in turn, breathed a sigh of exasperation. Once again, our hero had put all the fresh vegetables, fruits etc into the freezer, and the frozen items into the fridge. Happened every year, “senior moments” she called them, and had given up saying anything. She would arrange everything again, when Ron was in “his” cellar.
Maybe I should introduce our jolly Christmas couple. Ron is, normally, a calm, easy going type of chap, who passes most of his time in front of the PC, answering unsolicited and unwanted letters from insane people or in his carpenters workshop, equipped with the most up to date implements, and the rest of his time is taken up by being consoled by his wife Eff, normally because he has hit (again) his thumb instead of the nail, with the hammer. What time is left he spends in the cellar.
Eff, his wife, is an equally outgoing type, who had only one purpose in life, consoling her husband! Her real name was, of course, Ethel, but as a little girl, she had a speech lisp, and could only pronounce “Eff” to everyone who asked her name. Little wonder, therefore, that now everyone called her Eff!
Ron and Eff, there they are, and they will be our main actors in this year’s story.
Ron and Eff had just come back from a “pre-Christmas” short break, where it had been intended to relax and prepare, mentally and physically, for the Festive Period, now knocking on the door. Certain events, like the arrival of an enormous, black, toxic cloud over their Hotel (due to a largish fire somewhere else) had somewhat dampened the desire to go a-wandering, and the “Wellness” area of the hotel was well equipped, at least for Eff, but Ron wasn’t too keen on the things installed for him. He found that lifting weights, running nowhere on electric belts, following the gymnastic instructrice’s antics were, for him, certainly not “peace,quiet and relaxation”, but Eff enjoyed it, and so Ron said nought! The gym lady was actually a bonus for him, but he found it difficult to concentrate on his own efforts, whilst trying to see the rear end of the splendidly built lady, in front of the class, and he was suffering, mildly, from a crick in the neck.
All these pleasantries were now over, and for a couple of days , Ron and Eff had been preparing frantically for Christmas.
Nobody was actually invited over the Festive period, but Ron and Eff always liked to be prepared (Ron had actually been a Boy Scout in earlier years, and Eff a Girl Guide – that’s where they had met, when Ron made a mistake one day, and found himself in the Guides camp and preferred it to the Scouts place, next door).
Preparation, said Ron, was next to godliness, and sod cleanliness, and Eff (never one to differ, agreed!)
Supermarkets, open-air markets, Pakistani and Indian Bazars had all been combed through, looking for that little thing “different” from everyone else, but apart from another Father Christmas puppet (for Eff’s collection) they had returned home with roughly the traditional British items, half of which Ron refused to touch, things like grouse and woodcock, Turkey and chicken etc.
But the other half – the roast-beef, the legs of lamb and ham, these were Ron’s world. In any case, his main job at this period of the year, was to take care of the “liquid refreshments” which he did with great care and attention to detail, becoming quite befuddled at the end of the day, when Eff would gently ask him if “all was well in the cellar?”
A burp and a hiccup reassured her that all was normal.
Now the evening had set in, the baked beans on toast had been consumed (keeping a good hunger for Christmas fayre) the windows had been opened (the toxic black cloud was preferable as an evening odour) and Ron and Eff were going through the plans. Who had been forgotten, who SHOULD we forget, what the hell were we going to do with all that food and drink if, just suppose, if nobody turned up!
“Told you that all the poultry stuff was too much, Eff” said Ron, but Eff just snuggled up to her Ron, and said “Don’t worry, my petal, it’ll all work out”
to which Ron could only reply “Ooooohhhhh – Eff!”
And then the phone rang!
Ron said,”it’ll be for you, nobody ever calls me”.
“Oh Ron,” sighed Eff, “you know that’s not true, everybody loves you!”
Picking up the receiver, Eff said a loud hello, and after a few seconds cried out “Ron-come and help, it’s someone speaking French, I think!”
“Oh Christ,” said Ron, “when will that woman do like me, and learn the bloody language? Coming dear!”
Some 10 minutes later, and after much wild gesticulating with the arms, feet and every other body part usable, much talk about something called “sausaaaages” and various other words unknown to Eff, Ron returned, and collapsed into his favourite armchair, in front of a proud Eff.
“That’s it” muttered Ron, “We’ve got our first guest – a bloody Frenchman!”
“It’ll be a catastrophy, I just know it. Seems that one of them from Campagne will be over here for a few days, and it seems that I’ve just invited the *** for the period!”
“Oh Ron”, said Eff, “I knew those French language cassettes would be useful one day, I’m ever so proud of you, sugar! Isn’t it great, you can chat away all Christmas, in French, with him! You will translate for me won’t you, my love? Where can we get some snails and froggy legs from, so late in the day?”
“B*****r the frogs legs and stuff,” said Ron,”I suppose they eat normal things like egg and bacon and beans, or roast beef or turkey?”
“Oh, I think so,” said Eff,” but I’m not sure about Christmas pudding and crackers. Do you think they eat Turkey with all the trimmings?”
“No doubt about that,” replied Ron,”after all, the chipolatas are those things they call sausaaaage, aren’t they? Thing is, where can we get some of that really smelly cheese, you know, that one which is only good when it smells of rotten cabbage?”
“Well, we could try down at that new Turkish grocery shop, it always has funny smells coming out of it” suggested Eff.
“It’s French, Eff, not damned Turkish, it isn’t a delight at all” responded Ron.
Never mind, we’ll leave our heroes for now. Preparations are afoot, Ron is passing time in front of his PC, with alternating French lessons and dirty pictures, and has firmly decided that no Frenchman is going to drink him out of house and home, but he will pay particular attention to his wine cellar this year. Couple of bottles of Spanish should do the job, a nice pair of Sherries from Bristol’s (the sexy photos were getting to him, you see), if he wants snails, I’ll send him out into the garden, and I wonder if they eat fox as well?
A multitude of thoughts were pounding through his head, when suddenly a thought hit hard. The French said that rabbit tasted like Pussy, didn’t they, and the neighbour had a whole load of pussies! Was there anything to be done there? Now that WOULD be different, thought Ron, but I better say nothing to Eff.
Eff was downstairs, standing at the open doors of fridges and freezers, wondering what would be best for a Frenchman, but would be accepted at the same time by her sons and daughters (if they turned up) and, in particular, what would her Ron consume with ease, whilst pattering away with Gallic flair, in this strange language he occasionally lapsed into.
Upstairs, Ron lanced his last phrase for this Ist part of our story:
“It’s all that bearded twit’s fault, mr. le bloody Marquis, indeed!
END OF PART I.
Read all about the how the plans of man “gang aft astray”, and how a “wee, wicked, timid beastie” got Ron and Eff out of a tight spot, in the next part!