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Christmas Reading

Did you have a lovely relaxing reading Christmas break?  Or did it go something like this…


There are delicious book-shaped parcels under the tree.  Some of them are even for you.  One is a box of chocolates – good – but no cigar.  One is a cunningly wrapped box of socks.  Three are books – hurrah!

You wait impatiently for the others to finish opening their presents.  You make all the right noises.  You play a game of Star Wars Top Trumps with your nephew to show willing.

Finally, the teenagers are drifting back onto their phones, your father has started ‘listening’ to the Queen’s Speech with his eyes shut, snoring gently, and you carefully, quietly, surreptitiously crack the spine on the best of the books.

‘Would anyone like a cup of tea?’

You put it down.  You talk tea.  You boil the kettle, you make one decaff, one herbal, one Earl Grey and one coffee with sweetener.

You slink back into the corner of the living room where the children aren’t and open up your book again.

‘I do think children today don’t read enough, don’t you?’

You agree with your uncle that children don’t read enough.  You look longingly at your book but he doesn’t get the hint.  He then explains why your views on the government need to be corrected.  You wonder about taking him to see The Death of Stalin.  He heads off to the loo with yesterday’s paper.

You open your book.  It’s great.  It’s as good as you were hoping it would be, you’re transported, you’re away, you’re in the fifteenth century and all around is the bustle of the marketplace and the sound of the passive-aggressive washing up and the tuts of your spouse.

You put your book down.

‘Would you like me to do the washing up?’

‘No, it’s fine.  Just keep reading.  I know how much you enjoy sitting around doing nothing at Christmas.’


You try and continue reading but there’s a wispy fog of guilt hanging over the pages now.  Maybe Boxing Day.  


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