For a while now I’ve worked on my own. Usually it’s fine, but if there is one thing I miss, it’s the office Christmas party, when the Lord of Misrule becomes team leader for the day.
A good Office Christmas Party takes at least six months to organise, starting with fraught meetings in July to sort out the venue, which was always a cause of tension, since we usually had to work out why we couldn’t go back to various venues, or at least, hope the door staff had changed.
Once we’d reached agreement, the payment plan was worked out and young Fiona would assiduously go round collecting the money on a Friday, which meant long conversations about what would be worn, who would sit with whom, why she doesn’t speak to him, and why he’s paying the money for the meal right enough, but he won’t be allowed to go. Not after last year. He had to buy his wife a dishwasher to make up for the mess he made of the front door. Year before that it was a Dyson.
It was diplomacy of the highest order. I tell you, you drop young Fiona into that European summit, and she’d have slapped Cameron about and told him we were starting in Bar Napoli and that was final, then chummed up with Angela Merkel, who looks like a gal who sinks a few Malibu and cokes before hitting the dance floor, whilst assuring Sarkozy that no, he didn’t look short in that suit.
On the morning of the party the office was suddenly populated by brilliantly coloured butterflies and peacocks, and even miserable old Sandy Nicholl donned his novelty Santa tie (Rudolph’s nose lit up). Come to that, so did Sandy’s after a few malts.
Lovely wee Linda – whom everyone liked – suddenly revealed a killer figure in skintight black velvet that left the laddie from the post room as red as the space between his plooks would allow. Then there was Cathy – whom nobody liked – who’d lost three stone over the year, but no-one was mentioning it, so she had a face on her like a camel chewing a lemon.
Believe it or not, I even miss the cheesy disco. It’s the rare occasion most office workers get to boogie on down, now that their days of rave and disco are behind them, swallowed up by mortgages and deadlines, school runs and barking bosses.
People will lecture you, office workers of Scotland, but don’t you listen. Away you go in your character ties and new frocks with the price tags sticking out and have a ball.
Hurricane Bawbag’s trampoline has put a spring in my step
There are times when the sheer resilience of my country makes me well up with pride. Other countries react to extreme weather conditions by having their presidents appealing for calm as the population rampages through supermarkets ransacking the shelves, whilst hatches get battened down and prayer meetings are held for the safe deliverance of the nation.
Scotland, on the other hand, gazes watery-eyed into the howling gale, promptly names it Hurricane Bawbag and endlessly amuses itself by watching film of a trampoline getting blown down the street.
Howay! There’s always Tyne for thermals and bunny slippers
This dispatch comes to you from the city of Newcastle, where I’m entertaining Geordies.
This means I get to stay in a hotel, and I have packed carefully, especially in my choice of pyjamas. No flimsy whimsy of a baby doll nighty for me, I assure you, nor the traditional classic Scottish ensemble of semmit and pants.
It’s stern, sturdy, brushed cotton, livened only with the merest hint of festive jolliness (Christmas present from mum, 2005) for me. In the event of evacuation, perhaps the fire alarm being pressed by an over-enthusiastic office Christmas party attendee, I need not fear standing outside in the bitter cold. No, I can stand proud in my fluffy thermals, a proud ambassador of Scotland in my bunny slippers.
Staying on the rails
Just a thought. If I’d made a complete twonk of myself on a train by say, verbally abusing staff, using foul language and refusing to pay my fare, even though I apparently had enough money, and if I then got myself thrown off said train by another passenger, and it all appeared on YouTube, two things would have happened in quick succession.
One. My mother would have found me. She may be in her 70’s and have a hirply hip, but she still has red hair and a look that could silence Cameron.
Oh yes, she would have tracked me down to have words, even though I had already emigrated to Uruguay and changed my name to Maria Garcia y Jesus de Montoya, famed guinea pig whisperer of the High Sierras.
But what I wouldn’t do was probably draw more attention to myself, without offering a grovelling apology at any rate. Just a thought . . .