The Grand Tour: Fife and Beyond

Ramblings of an inveterate cyclist

Christmas, it would seem gets earlier every year. Already the adverts are appearing, telling us about bargains for Christmas, or buy now and delivery guaranteed by Christmas. I have always been against the commercialisation of Christmas. now we have the dumbing down of Christmas. No Christmas decorations in the streets that promote Christmas as a Christian festival, that is somehow, not politically correct, for it is offensive to non-Christians in society. Yet go down to Bradford and you will see Moslem festivals and Hindu festivals taking place, no one seems to object, in fact, they are welcomed in our multicultural society. This wee story came from such thoughts.

The girl sat on a stool her class of wide-eyed children in a semicircle at her feet, she retold the narrative, passed on by countless Sunday school teachers down through the ages, how Mary and Joseph arrived at Bethlehem to find ‘No Vacancy’ signs at every inn. A sigh of disappointment went up from the children as their teacher closed her book and announced the story would have to be continued next week.

Tommy was the first through the door the following Sunday and stood before his teacher, fingers fidgeted nervously. The young girl looked down kindly at the small unkempt lad in front of her, before asking “Yes Tommy?

“Please Miss has that man got a hoose yet?”

A smile broadened across the girls face, “No” she replied “But don’t worry Tommy, it will all turns out well in the end”.

Despite her reassurances Tommy was first to arrive the following Sunday, and the next and the next, only to ask the same question of his teacher.

“Please Miss, has that man got a hoose yet?”

The girl was preparing for the arrival of her class when an excited, breathless Tommy burst in through the door and announced,

“Miss! Miss! That man’s got a hoose”.

“Slow down Tommy”, she implored the breathless boy, words gushing from his mouth like a noisy babbling brook. “Take a breath and tell me once more what you are trying to say?”

“Its one of those wee prefabs down Wardlaw Way Miss, I was passing and saw a big furniture van outside number 17, that’s next door to Mrs O’Rourke, and Mrs O’Rourke, she said to the man in the van, Christ have you come to bide here noo?”

What happened to Christmas?

Look Jean what I bought in the Christmas sale,

This hat with a ‘drop dead gorgeous’ veil.

Oh, Joan! You really have gone quite mad,

Ever since they gave you that new plastic card.

Jean! Why must you be so mean?

Just look outside at the Christmas scene.

Outside the cafe the Salvation Army band played,

Sung carols and the nativity tale relayed.

Jean, would you listen to that din,

Wouldn’t be so bad if they could sing,

Anyway, why do they have to bring religion into everything?

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