A message from the hinterlands

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SO, here we are, once more, in the hinterlands.

Or Boxing Day, if you will.

The no man’s ground, as one might call it. The demilitarised zone. The unoccupied territory across which Christmas Day eyeballs New Year’s Eve, and we – soldiers of the celebrations, fighters half-felled by the festivities – wander about shellshocked, unsure of usually rudimentary truths.

What day is it? Are the shops open? Can these people really be related to me?

It is a perplexing period for sure, this here week between the baubles and Big Ben’s bongs, the fairy lights and the fireworks. Not a national holiday but then neither a normal working week. Just a sort of grey patch of space and time filled with unresolved but fundamental questions such as why ITV always shows Goldfinger but never The Living Daylights, and almost certainly the only time of year when you get to pondering how much a pair of novelty Y-fronts will bring on eBay?

Not much, my friends, not much. Or, ahem, so I’m told.

Hopefully you had a great Christmas Day, anyway. You usually do, don’t you, when all’s said and done, and the Strictly special is over, and, in my case at least, you’ve smiled and told your mam that, gee, a chopping board? For me? How did you know it’s just what I wanted?

That’s Christmas, though. Most of us have fun, I think, when it gets down to the heart of the matter. It’s almost worth the hassle of the build up. It’s almost even worth the pre-Christmas supermarket shop - that hour in the store when normally rational human beings are given a trolley and, for some reason, turn into cold-eyed savages fighting for brussels sprouts like life itself depends on this windy vegetable.

Aye, Tesco in Spital Hill was busy on Sunday.

We had to go because this year, for the first time ever, we had the olds come to us. We thought it would be a change and it was - we got bossed about in our own kitchen instead of someone else’s.

Have a drink and let it wash over you lad, my dad says like a battle-hardened veteran. And aye, it’s alright.

And now...Boxing Day.

This middle ground, home to cold turkey for lunch, Jams Bond in the afternoon, and falling asleep in the evening wearing paper hats from left-over crackers.

And New Year’s Eve to come, approaching now, like an unstoppable enemy battalion armed to the teeth with extortionate bar prices and parties that go flat about ten past 12.

Not a fan myself. There’s nothing less jovial than forced joviality. If you need a calendrical excuse, to have a good time, having a good time probably isn’t your idea of, well, having a good time.

Give me a night in instead and a night out on January 1. Each to our own, and that’s mine.

And then the new year itself. New possibilities, new challenges, new dreams, a new Justin Bieber album. Can’t be bad, right?

And, so, from here amid the hinterlands, from this rambling mid-festive mind, from whatever else I’ve tried to say and probably failed, a late Merry Christmas and an early Happy New Year.