I'm dreaming of a sober Christmas, not like the ones I used
to know. Father Christmas won't be getting a glass of sherry if he deigns to drop
down my chimney.
I suppose the highlight will be going
to see Lord of the Rings rather than counting the empty bottles on Boxing Day.
Still, old hobbits die hard. I will still be attending
the party my new neighbour is hosting, even if my glass will not exactly be running
I was entranced to hear yesterday that she bought
the house because of the Victorian lamppost outside. I couldn't help but think
that in Ibiza she would have had other considerations about where to live, like
whether there was somewhere to sit outside, even at Christmas, or how far you'd
be from the beach, or whether there was any land to keep chickens and wild cats.
Not drinking at Christmas has its compensations, of course.
It means you become the unpaid taxi driver for the entire coterie of family and
friends. And because your hands don't tremble you get to be put in charge of making
all the new toys work by figuring out which way the batteries go. That's if there
are still any toys, rather than computer games and DVDs. I think I'd rather have
a Legover set.
I have a fond memory of sitting in the
Ibiza sunshine drinking a cool beer one Christmas Day morning. In Haughton Green
it's more likely to be mulled wine huddled around the gas fire than San Miguel
overlooking Sant Antoni Bay.
Talking of Tolkein, I was
musing over Emily's authoritative feature about religion last week. I'm the only
person I know who has actually read Lord of the Rings and I had a cat called
Bilbo Baggins twenty years ago. He had big, furry paws when he was a kitten and
you'll see why he got the name when you see the film. He's played by Ian Holm,
the marvellous actor I remember seeing as Romeo at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
I can't remember who played Juliet, but I do recall she was a good deal taller
than him, which means he makes a very little Hobbit.
point is that there is a deep, Christian message underpinning this theological
thriller which also happens to be a fantastic story. The Hobbits are the meekest,
most humble race that inhabits Middle Earth and yet they are entrusted with the
journey to return the ring from whence it was cast. There's a Judas-type character
that keeps being forgiven. There's even a pipe-smoking creature that turns out
to be a sort of Messiah. And there's a moral throughout it all to do with good
conquering the evil in everyone. Tolkein was at Oxford with C. S. Lewis and they
had this idea about promoting the Christian message through fantasy (The Lion,
the Witch and the Wardrobe). And what a good idea to bring out the three films
just before Christmas each year.
As far as I can recall
though, there's nothing in them about drinking gin and tonic without the gin on