Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

My Festive Ice Screams

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

My Festive Ice Screams

Article excerpt

Byline: gary BAINBRIDGE One man's struggle with the 21st century Follow Gary on Twitter: @Gary_Bainbridge or email him at

FOR complicated reasons I spent this Christmas Day on my own. I do not wish you to feel sorry for me - unless it somehow leads to me gaining financially - and I know there are many people worse off. For example, I know there are those of you who had to spend Christmas with your relatives and loved ones.

I decided to make the best of it. On my way home on Christmas Eve I picked up the last chicken in Tesco, and I had a cracker left over from last year, so I was pretty much set for the best Christmas since the one before Ebenezer Scrooge was visited by the ghosts.

In the spirit of the season, I put a wash on just before noon, and started peeling some potatoes. Yes, I was a case study for some sort of charity and will probably appear, played by an actor, in an advert which is shown in the afternoon on one of the channels in the bottom half of the guide, but I was not going to let it stop me from having a good Christmas.

"This isn't so bad," I thought, the smell of a roasting chicken wafting from the oven, the Christmas tree lights twinkling by the window. It's possible I hallucinated the carol singers carrying lanterns out in the street, we will never know. I am sure I saw Cliff Richard walking past.

I took a sip of sweet sherry, and started to wash up as I cooked. "Delia Smith never has to worry about this," I thought. I ran the hot tap to fill up the bowl. "Hmm," I thought, "This hot tap is taking a suspiciously long time to heat up. It is almost as if it is the cold tap."

I waggled it to make sure. It was not. And so this Christmas became The Christmas I Spent On My Own With No Hot Water Or Central Heating.

Christmas Day is the very worst day of the year to have your boiler break down, even if you do not have a house full of people, because nobody wants to come out to fix a boiler when there are sprouts, purple Roses, and arguments on offer at home.

Then, if the plumber does come out, the chance that he or she will have the part required to repair the boiler is so small that you could hide it behind the bit of Piers Morgan's brain that deals with self-doubt. …

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