The Ely Grumpster reflects on Christmas then and now

The Ely Grumpster

The Ely Grumpster - Credit: Archant

It’s been a fun-packed festive break in the Grumpster house-hold and despite a drained bank account and a mountain of uneaten turkey and mince pies, it was definitely all worthwhile.

Thursday December 21 was our last day at work. The KPEY consulting partner bought the team a box of Celebration chocolates. They trouser half a million quid for being able to tie their shoelaces and that’s all those tightwads can stretch to.

Still, such meanness isn’t new. I remember my first clerical job at a High Street Bank branch in 1976. The branch manager organised a Christmas Eve staff raffle of all the goodies that customers had donated (amazing to think that then, people actually liked banks).

We headed off home, happily clutching our bottles of piat d’or and liebfraumilch.

First day back after Christmas, the branch accountant needed a file from the manager’s personal cabinet and upon opening it with a spare key (that the boss didn’t know he possessed), discovered an Aladdin’s cave of vintage champagne, single-malt scotch and expensive full-corona cigars.

Suddenly, our 99p bottle of gut-rot didn’t seem such a generous present…

Back to 2017 - we had Paul, Sandra, Andy and Linda over for a Christmas Eve dinner.

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Piece de la resistance – a magnificent three bird roast. “How do they do that?” asked the hapless Dave. “Simple” I said. The butcher gets the duck to swallow the quail, then the turkey to swallow the duck. He chops the turkey’s head off and bingo”. “Shut-up Egg and pour the drinks” snarled Doris, resplendent in her early Christmas present – a magnificent grey tracksuit from Sports’ Direct. After a delicious meal and despite Linda’s protestations, we settled down to a quiz. “Ok Andy, your first question”. What soft drink is used in the preparation of a black Russian cocktail?”

After two minutes of chin-rubbing, he had his eureka moment. “Milk” he exclaimed triumphantly. “Err, not quite mate” I said.

Let’s try another one. “Who was Henry VIII’s third wife? Bit of a clue – she had the same name as a Bond girl actress”. After an eternity, he leapt to his feet. I think I know this one – Ursella Andress.”

Paul and Sandra tried and failed to stifle their laughter. “Yep, good old Queen Ursella”. Doris had heard enough.

Let’s get the karaoke machine out. “Egg has been dying to perform his version of the can-can – haven’t you dear?”