‘Twas four nights before Christmas, and all through the shops, the people were queuing, some throwing strops.

Picture the scene. It’s the 21st December and I’ve just run the gauntlet of West Quay including the Mecca of indecisive dawdlers that is Marks & Spencer. I have a BUMBO (massive moulded plastic child’s seat) under one arm and am laden with bags full of ‘ooh they’d really love that’ additional presents. I’ve paid for and left some expensive wrapping paper in Johnnie LouLou’s and at this point in time I don’t care, I JUST DON’T CARE.

All I want to do is get back to my car and get out of Dodge. I waddle back over to the car park trying not to drop anything whilst attempting to fish my car park ticket, an appropriate amount of money and my car keys out of my handbag using my teeth. I’m like a truffle pig nosing through the detritus of my bag hunting for treasure but I’m definitely winning.

I come across a huge queue to pay for parking so hedging my bets over which queue will move fastest and get me to the front before I lose the feeling in my fingers I join the back of a long slow moving crocodile. I’m soon joined by Mr & Mrs Average, a standard young couple you’d see out shopping in the run up to the holidays. He, laden with (her) bags and a dead look behind the eyes. Her, grimly focused on chattering away about the rest of the stuff they have to buy.

Then I heard her, “I hope you’ve got me something better than last year I stole a glance over my shoulder and clocked him looking sheepish in the extreme. He mumbled something and she continued, “I spent a fortune on you and all your presents were wrapped up nicely slight pause, no doubt for a quick pout, “it was so embarrassing getting a sandwich toaster. For Christmas!”

This diatribe carried on through the parking queue and by the time we all fell into the lift, Mrs had ramped up a gear and was trying to extract from the now positively mute Mr what she could expect under the tree in four nights time. Clearly infuriated by his silence she tried her most desperate tactic yet,

“Have you even bought me anything yet? Well, have you?

“I bet you haven’t even thought about what to get me. I said to my Mum I should just buy myself something and get the money off you”

She was doing the pissed off whispering through clearly gritted teeth that women do so well and everyone in the lift was silent and yet pretending to be utterly absorbed in staring at the floor.

He bravely piped up, “It’s a surprise love” but Mrs really didn’t appreciate that, clearly believing that “it’s a surprise” means “I haven’t bought anything and you’ll get some Ferrero Rocher and a bottle of cheap plonk from the Co-Op on the corner that I’ve bought at 23:55 on Christmas Eve” so she tried the broken record technique,

“Have you bought me anything? Have you? I bet you haven’t. Well, HAVE YOU?

At this point, the iPhone in my hand flashed up with an incoming text message and in a loud Welsh male voice (that of @DavieLegend) went “QUESTION MAAAARK?”

If looks could kill, I wouldn’t have seen Christmas.

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