Whether you like to admit it or not, Christmas is now coming up fast on the rails and will soon be among us.
It's a strange time for me; for many years, as a musician, I worked over Christmas and saw it as a mega pay day. I was sober on New Years Eve as well (can't play with any alcohol in my system) as you lot all partied.
I've also never been one for the joy of present giving to be honest. In most cases we give people stuff they don't really want and, in doing so, spend money we can ill afford.
I know what you're saying now "grumpy bastard" but truly I'm not.
When I worked I loved Christmas. All the effort that went into parties and New Year was excellent.
Prior to working at some extraordinary venues where money seemed to be no object I had struggled through the Christmas of 1978. Hard times with no money sleeping in a bedsit waiting for the big break. That Christmas, in London, was supposed to be dire. On Christmas Eve I walked the West End watching people having a great time when I didn't even have the price of a pint, my Christmas Dinner was an egg mayo sandwich and half a pint of milk.
But, strangely I enjoyed it. Maybe it was the pain I enjoyed, I've no idea really, but I still have fond memories. I was alone in London, I didn't see anybody or even speak to anybody for the five days surrounding Christmas. Yet somehow it seemed safe and comforting. Nobody had any expectations of me and I had none of them. My friends up in Yorkshire were partying like crazy but somehow I was happy to be alone. I'm weird I know........
Now I'm retired I don't work at Christmas or New Year. I have them at home. Normally mum would come down but with her passing in the Spring it's just me, my wife and whoever from her family turns up (which is currently looking like nobody).
I love to cook at Christmas, I do the lot, all the trimmings, that stuff.
But this year there'll be the two of us so I found myself looking at the Waitrose Christmas food catalogue and thinking I should let somebody else do the cooking. Now this does seem weird.
Having everything delivered, just warming it up. That's not Christmas is it! Well it appears it is. And this is what I have to look forward to for the coming years.
So suddenly Christmas isn't a time for self flagellation, nor a time for work, it's just a dead spot in the diary.
And that's sad. I have no intention of becoming one of those sad bastards who goes on a cruise (I worked cruise ships for five years). Or of finding some romantic restaurant where we can be crammed in with too many other people whilst the staff stay happy and the chef shows how much he loves producing standard Christmas fair instead of his normal fabulous creations. Staff working Christmas Day while folk party just love it!
So I guess we could climb Kilimanjaro or walk to the North Pole but it's just not me. We could lay on a beach (sounds a bit better) and take in the rays somewhere obscure but none of the above floats my boat.
Christmas will be rubbish this year, got to fix it for next............