Saturday, 29 November 2008

Who's your Father (Christmas)?

As billed, we took Jamie to meet the world's worst Santa today. Or, at least, I fully expected him to be the world's worst Santa.

The venue was Rawdon where Grandad Geoff was involved in organising a gathering to raise money for the local church where he was once a warden.

It was due to start at 11.30am but, when we arrived some 15 minutes late, the hall was already packed out.

There were second-hand stalls, cake stalls, food stalls - you name it.

And, at the far end of the room as you walked in, there he was. The biggest idiot on the planet, the most irritating man alive, the only human being I know with the power and ability to give you an instant itch.

Yes, it was my brother-in-law Dagenham Dave - dressed as Father Christmas. And, boy was he in his element.

Think about it, there he was surrounded by lots of little people with the same mental age as him. His task was to talk at them in that stupid, annoying Southern accent of his for as long as he wanted. And, because they had the same mental age as him, they lapped it up.

But, you know, I'm nothing if not charitable and, being so charitable and giving (and because it will soon be Christmas), I'm going to have to admit it: he was fantastic.

Daggers sat there in his big warm suit, surrounded by (his own) hot air for well over and hour. He spoke to every kid and every parent and he showed the same level of enthusiasm to the first child as he did the last.

With the queue finally getting shorter, I joined the line and, after a short wait, fed Jamie to the lion (or handed Jamie to Santa - depends what way you look at it).

Jamie looked a bit bemused by the whole thing but contented nonetheless. And, like most babies, seemed more intrigued by Father Christmas's beard than by anything else.

And, just before Santa handed him back, my son did his daddy proud - he gave Dave's beard a big tug. Sometimes I really love that boy.

Father Christmas then continued to smile and talk rubbish to the final three or four children behind us as we prepared to take Jamie home for lunch.

As I say, fair play to old Daggers. But don't expect me to be nice to him when he comes to ours on Christmas Day. (He's bound to break something, for a start).

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