With com­mu­nity ed­i­tor

Mort Smith

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - PEOPLE AND PLACES -

WHEN my chil­dren were grow­ing up they used to call me Mog­gie – an ex­ten­sion of MOG, which stood for Mis­er­able Old Git.

I used to think there was a cer­tain amount of irony in that nick­name be­cause I didn’t feel I was nec­es­sar­ily that mis­er­able. And then my wife start­ing call­ing me Eey­ore, based on the don­key character in the Pooh books, who al­ways ex­pected ev­ery­thing to go wrong and would greet most set­backs with the re­signed com­ment: ‘That’s just what would hap­pen…’

At which point, I started to get to­tally para­noid about my­self and the per­sona pre­sented to the out­side world.

I have to con­fess that one of the things that has oc­ca­sion­ally de­pressed me is that Christ­mas – a won­der­ful, warm, in­clu­sive time of year for hav­ing fun with the fam­ily – now ap­pears to start round about the end of Au­gust. While the sum­mer is still in full swing, Christ­mas cards start ap­pear­ing in the shops, fol­lowed swiftly by wrap­ping pa­per and gift tags.

By mid-Septem­ber, ev­ery gar­den cen­tre has in­tro­duced dis­plays of plas­tic Christ­mas trees, colour­ful lights with which to dec­o­rate said trees and by Oc­to­ber, there are in­flat­able San­tas, rein­deer, sleighs and gnomes in­vad­ing just about ev­ery part of the high street.

My wife has al­ways de­clared that Christ­mas doesn’t ac­tu­ally be­gin un­til she hears Jonah Lewie singing ‘Don’t Stop the Cavalry’, which nor­mally hap­pens around mid-De­cem­ber. But this year even that land­mark event oc­curred while we were shop­ping in Ikea three week­ends ago – and start­ing Christ­mas when the tem­per­a­ture is still in the 20s is just plain wrong.

Per­haps I’m be­ing slowly ground into sub­mis­sion but I have to say that on Thurs­day last week, when I went to get in the car to drive to work and found it cov­ered in frost, with thick fog swirling around, I had a brief epiphany. It ac­tu­ally felt like the right time of year to be think­ing about Christ­mas as my feet crunched on the frozen grass. I even started to think about shop­ping for presents for my grand­daugh­ter.

In light of that, I think I’m en­ti­tled to de­mand a new nick­name – Merry Old Git, per­haps. Oh, hang on, that’s still go­ing to end up as Mog­gie, isn’t it…?

I

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