Christmas is coming and I am getting fat, please put some many in the old bats hat – mine!


Son Louis has declared he wants race stuff for Christmas. Last year he had his birthday party at Raceland, a go-karting track in East Lothian, and now he is addicted. Yesterday saw him screeching round the track at the last race meeting of the year. God, if only he liked embroidery. Actually, if only I liked embroidery at least could get his name tags on without performing open finger surgery on myself every time.

Still, it makes life easy if he tells me what he wants then can trawl around on eBay and hope to get the goodies – the race suit, not comedians Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie and Tim Brooke-Taylor.


Dinner at Martin Wishart’s with our pals as a Christmas surprise. We had the tasters’ menu – which means you don’t know what you’re getting until it appears in front of you. We had seven courses. It was so decadent and everything was fabulous – from beef, fish, game, shellfish, cheese, and chocolate to pate. Lord, what a piglet.


Went to Argos for my Christmas shopping. The only thing missing was Richard E. Grant. Talk about easy. Felt calm and in control – even nipped over to the supermarket and ordered a turkey.

Annoying, aren’t I? Dave stayed in North Berwick with my folks and I stayed in with my pal Fiona and a bottle of wine, watching rubbish on telly and gossiping – a perfect night.


Skiing holiday coming up soon so have been doing ski-related exercises in the gym and am now walking around like Charles Laughton in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

It’s nearly the end of term and Louis is tired. He’s in bed about to drift off when he sighs: ‘Mum, I always want to be a boy and have fun.’ Just as well it was dark, it would’ve brought a tear to a glass eye.


Pick up Louis from school and head straight off down the A1 to visit Dave’s sister Hilly in Redworth, Yorkshire. She fed us and then we collapsed in our fourth-floor hotel room round the corner at 10. It smelled as though 20 fags were smoked in our room seconds before we arrived.

As a reformed smoker I am the worst about the waft of smoke. It was also like an oven. We tried to turn off the heaters but eventually had to call reception who sent a man up. He tapped the pipes and observed astutely: ‘Oh, yes, they are jammed on and there’s nothing can do about it tonight.’ Fat lot of use that was so we opened the windows wide and wrap up in the duvet – well, it is December, for goodness sake.

Meanwhile, there was a Christmas party at the other end of the hotel so we lay in bed accompanied by a drunken chorus of So Here It Is Merry Christmas, closely followed by a couple having a major domestic outside our room. Eventually, Dave leapt out of bed like a lunatic, stuck his head out of the room and shouted: ‘For God’s sake, shut up!’ They slunk off into the distance.

About 30 minutes later a different pair came out for a barney. This time the guy was swearing, f-ing and blinding, so I put my head out of the room and shouted: ‘For God’s sake woman, don’t let him talk to you like that!’

Stunned, they also left. We had earned a little silence, at least till the people staying next door arrived back in their room at 4am, put the radio on, got stuck into the mini-bar and started talking loudly. I didn’t complain. To be honest, a few years ago that would have been us so I let that one go. Peace then till 6am when there was an eerie howling noise outside.

Not a fox, not a dog – it sounded like a great big killer turkey. Maybe it was a vigilante turkey wreaking revenge on the humans who cull his relatives at this time of year. Or maybe the lack of sleep has left me deranged. After this mental meandering lay awake with a puffy face until it was time for breakfast.


We packed our bags and headed down for breakfast but as we passed our noisy neighbours’ door accidentally on purpose fell against it and gave it a good dunt. Well, it made me feel a little better. As did seeing all the hungover, red-eyed sufferers from last night, sitting shaking.

Departed fairly quickly after the receptionist got a flea in her ear from Dave. Driving back home it was foggy until we reached the border and Louis piped up: ‘It’s always lovely in Scotland, isn’t it.’ Yes, we agreed it is.

P.S. Still reeling from the aftermath of The X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing, which was won by my favourite Geordie lass Jill Halfpenny. Dirty Den will regret the day he let her slip through his fingers. Yup, getting reality and soap mixed up again.


Writer & broadcaster.

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