Different Strokes.



It is very early in the morning…3.30am to be precise…and not only am I back up out of bed, but so is Big H.

I have just gone and made us both a mug of tea and a nice hot Warburton’s Potato Pancake each, because we are both so wide awake


Why does it happen sometimes!

Perhaps there was a loud noise outside, which woke us both up, but did not happen again once we were awake.

Or perhaps a very, very frustrated burglar is now on his way home to the waiting Mrs Burglar, empty-handed.

It is a good job that it is not Christmas Eve or Mr and Mrs Burglar’s children would not be getting any presents.

Not that the kids would be very enthralled with the likes of a large piece of antique diamante jewellery, perhaps in the shape of a tiger, and a piece of fly fishing impedimenta.  The only saving grace might be a couple of warlike computer games for Big H.

It is funny isn’t it, the different things that appeal to people, stuff that makes us thrilled to bits would make other recipients wonder why everyone has taken leave of their senses all of a sudden, and given them such rubbish presents.


I love ethnic type stuff myself.

I remember a few years ago, when my mum was alive, and we were discussing the family Xmas which we had all just spent together at our house.

She could not remember what I had given my brother, so I reminded her about it.


In the October or November, few months before the big day, I had bought myself a big, heavy ‘silver’ statue at T. K. Max in the town.

It was of Ganesh, the elephant god, who usually seems to be depicted standing on one leg,with both arms up in the air, and of course he has the head of an elephant.

It is a fabulous thing and looks great on the fireplace if you happen to have the same tastes as me.  It was not cheap but definitely  worth it.


As I liked it so much, I decided that I would go and see if I could get another one at the same shop, for my brother, and bugger the cost.

I did.

And I got one!


He duly received his special present, wrapped beautifully, on the appointed day.

It’s ribbons and colourful paper adding to the sparkling confusion of discarded wrappings spread all over the room.

I love giving presents,  and I especially like getting them too!


Anyway, there I was, reminding Mum of my choice of present for my sibling.

“Did he REALLY  like it?”, I asked her, sitting back confidently, waiting to bask in the reflected cleverness, originality and general spot-on suitability of my expensive choice.

“No, I don’t think so” she said, blunt and to the point as usual.

“OH……why do you think he didn’t like it then Mum?”

“Well, I asked him what he had got from you and he said “Oh, it was just a statue of some guy with one leg.”


“Well, what did he do with it?”

“Oh, I don’t really know.  I think he just put it in the garage.  You know he hates any sort of ethnic stuff!”




So that was a very good, but somewhat late in life, lesson for me.

It would appear that I had been in the habit of giving people the objects of my own desires, rather than theirs.


I have changed since then, and I try to see things through other people’s eyes.

We usually give my brother a book now, about something hard to read and factual, like a war or someones life story.

Last year we went with Big H‘s choice and bought him a couple of CD’s.  One was ‘clever quips and stories about cricket’ and the other was’ all the very best bits of some talking panel’ that people apparently like to listen to on the wireless.

Big H said it was something my brother would enjoy listening to in his car.  He said he had always found it very funny himself too.

Sounded gruesome to me but we went with that idea.

Who was I to argue, given my Ganesh choice!


I hope that we got it right that time and that Big H was not giving my brother the objects of his own desires too.

But never mind.

They always say that it is the thought that counts.

Just as well in my case I think.


Not that long ’til next Christmas now, so I had better start doing some serious thinking again!


Lots of love,


Big H went back to bed at 4.30 am…he’s just not ‘proper hard’ like me!

I am going to greet the dawn now by toasting myself another Warburton’s Potato Pancake and having another cup of tea.

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