Judging by the long queues of fractious traffic leading towards the Broadway in Ealing, my fellow residents of the Queen of the Suburbs have been caught out by the inevitability of the calendar and have decided to treat December as a mad dash for the finishing line. As you may be aware, many of Ealing’s denizens work in the film industry and habitually don the characteristic insulated puffer-vest of the movie set during colder weather. I have never witnessed such rowdy scenes as of the last few weekends, with hundreds of such people sweeping up and down the Broadway, blocking the thoroughfares and causing distress to ordinary, law-abiding citizenry. Such was the rowdiness of these ‘gilets gris’ that the council had to call in the Constabulary to enforce order. It does seem hugely unlikely that such unsociable behaviour should be associated with something as innocuous as a gilet. Only in Ealing, eh?
Whatever the chaos outside, the institution which is the PP Workshop continues to go from strength to strength. Pat Francis deployed some Celtic philosophy in a short poem about inspiration. Peter Francis seems to be getting his inspiration on the way to buy hardware, judging by this week’s observational poem. John Hurley has been troubled by the ghosts of his own Christmases. Anne Furneaux rounded off a tryptic of poems telling the story of a weekend on the south coast. Christine Shirley brought us a poem and a drawing in one with a peon to snow. Alan Chambers took us back to the sea, bringing us glimpses of fish and nets. Finally, Nick Barth rounded off the evening with a white-out on a mountain that nevertheless required selfies.
My own approach is to amble into Christmas. By June I have already decided upon the predominant colour scheme for my decorations. By July the Christmas Card list is all but done, together with the appropriate order to send my messages out. By August I have finalised the executive decision-making on gifts, leaving my Man to actually select and acquire the items. By September I have chosen the music to be played on Christmas Day and in what order. This leaves October and November for the menu, the final decisions on napkins and cracker novelties. And what of December, I hear you ask? I leave December for the most important decision of all, being the poem I will read to my guests after we take our places at the dining table, just prior to the commencement of eating and drinking.
Last year I delighted my guests with William McGonnegal’s ‘The Christmas Goose’. Faithful readers will recall that the PP archives exposed the fact that McGonnegal was a fictional character conjured up as an outlet by that master of dark wit, Thomas Hardy. I chose not to drop this bombshell on my guests until the end of my enervating performance, in order to enhance their enjoyment of this truly tedious, tiresome work. So, what shall I read to my pals this year? I suspect that Carol Anne Duffy’s ‘Christmas Truce’ might be just the inspiration my guests need for a jolly evening of amusing conversation. What do you think?
If you have been, thank you for reading.