Tuesday, 15 December 2015

What a card!

Suddenly the mantelpiece is full of Christmas cards. To begin with it was just the regular early senders: my sister in law, Phil's chess playing friend Jim, my cousin Rosemary and her husband who is another Jim (for a while, and to their bewilderment, people used to send them cards with pictures of the rag dolls, Rosie and Jim, from a children's television series) and Phil's Auntie Doreen. But now they are streaming in from all over the place. 

And I have not written a single one. Indeed, it was only yesterday that I decided I needed to buy some. Now at least I can write some to give to the friends we will meet for lunch tomorrow. 

Christmas cards have led Jeremy Corbyn, Labour's much criticised leader, into another little controversy. He has broken with tradition and opted for an official Christmas card that does not include a photograph of himself or his family. What a shock! I am not sure if I can recover from such a horrifying action on the part of a politician. While David Cameron is sending out pictures of himself and Samantha standing outside Number 10, Downing Street, and other politicians opt for stylised pictures of the happy family group next to the Christmas tree, our Jeremy has chosen to send out a picture of a bicycle leaning on an old, traditional, red telephone box, both of them covered in snow. 

This has led to all sorts of speculation about the message being sent - apart from the obvious Merry Christmas. Some say that the snow reveals a leaning towards Moscow and the Russians, since there has not been much snow around here for a few years, while Russian snow is guaranteed. The use of the colour red is not interpreted as a seasonal touch (as is the case with red holly berries, Santa's red suit and so on) but as an indication that he is a true socialist, if not communist, kind of Labour Party man, a proper left-winger, a rabis red in fact. The traditional telephone box harks back to good old traditional Labour Party values while the bicycle demonstrates an ecologically sound approach to the world! Wow! 

What a lot of hot air a simple Christmas card can generate! The people who have written all this twaddle-filled analysis would have been really good at casting runes and reading the future in the entrails of a chicken! 

Now, if I were the sort of person who received Christmas cards from politicians, I know which kind of card I would prefer. Who really wants a photo of David Cameron or Nick Clegg or Tony Blair propped up next to the clock on the mantelpiece? It could quite put you off your mince pies! 

This family-photo-on-a-card business is only just acceptable when friends do it and even then it looks a little odd up there with all the robins and deer and Christmas puddings and Santa with his sleigh and camels trudging towards Bethlehem. However, as many of us only stay in touch via Christmas cards (fewer than used to be the case now that mass media keeps us up to date with almost everyone) such photos serve to let us know what friends' families are up to, without having recourse to a round robin letter. 

And just don't get me started on round robins! No time for more ranting. I have cards to write!

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