The Spanish have a really useful word: consuegra. It means co-mother-in-law, a term we do not have in English. So instead of saying, for example, ‘this is my son’s mother-in-law” or “my son’s wife’s mother”, I can just say, “esta es mi consuegra” or “this is my co-mother-in-law”.
I thought of this on Tuesday when my daughter was meeting her almost mother-in-law (we also need a term for “fiancés mother”) for lunch in Manchester. As I handed over a Christmas card for her to give to the almost-in-laws, my daughter said to me, “I’ve got a present from them for you at my house.” Consequently, having thought that I had finished buying presents, today I have had to go around looking for something suitable but not too pricey.
This is the ritual exchange of tat! You give someone a token something that they almost certainly neither want nor need in exchange for an equally token something you probably neither want nor need.
Still, it could be worse. We could be sitting in a plane waiting to take off from Gatwick or even worse waiting to take off from Paris or somewhere and unable to do so because it can’t land at Gatwick.
Drones over Gatwick are causing major disruption. Police are trying to trace them and hopefully put a stop to their antics.
Meanwhile, Gatwick currently has no idea when normal service will be resumed and apparently feels no obligation to pay compensation!
The other day we heard that there has been a huge increase in the sale of drones. To perfectly ordinary man-in-the-street kind of people. People are giving and receiving them for Christmas. Most people will probably use them to take interesting photos from the sky but it sounds as though the ones over Gatwick are just being used to disrupt. Maybe it’s time for drone-owners to need a license. Surely if something is big enough to disrupt the normal functioning of an airport it should be registered and its use monitored.
The spoof news source Newsthump comments that this is Ryanair’s latest cheap flights. Not beyond the bounds of possibility.
Newsthump also offers this comment on Brexit, Christmas and Santa Claus:-
“Changes to Britain’s immigration system after it leaves the European Union may stop Santa Claus from making his annual festive flying visit, it has emerged.
Santa currently uses European freedom of movement rights to fly his sleigh from Lapland into British skies to conduct his annual delivery business.
However, with Britain leaving the EU, the jolly old man is likely to face the same immigration curbs as other Laplanders in future.
Work permits are expected to be introduced, and legal experts warn that the tradition of parents providing a glass of sherry and a mince pie in return for Santa leaving presents by the fireplace constitutes an informal work arrangement – thereby making it impossible for the iconic figure to gain permission to enter the country without the correct paperwork.
Any attempt to make deliveries without permission from the immigration authorities could see Santa arrested, according to legal experts.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage said, “This is just another example of a foreigner coming over here taking the job of a decent hardworking indigenous British national who could easily spend the night delivering presents instead. I’ll be delighted to see the end of it.”
In a further complication, the government is believed to favour including reindeer in its annual immigration target.
Theresa May is believed to favour a quota of four reindeer per year for the whole country, which friends of Santa say would make the job of pulling his present-laden sleigh close to impossible.
The issue has been raised at cabinet level, with one minister said to have raised concerns that millions of children may be disappointed, only to have been drowned out by shouts of “bah humbug!”
Meanwhile, the Sun is investigating claims that hundreds of Laplanders are cheating immigration controls by masquerading as Santa in shopping centres across the country.
It has published images it claims to be the real Santa supervising elves back in Lapland in the run-up to Christmas while the fake Santas pose for photos with unsuspecting children.”
There you go!