Taking Stock - December 8, 2014

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A significant flurry of hailstones rattling the windows reminds me it’s December and along with bumper heating bills I’m probably going to spend quite a bit of time in the next week or so watching Nativity plays.

To be honest, I don’t mind – even if I have run over the lines of Narrator Number One with such intensity you’d think my daughter’s RADA place was depending upon it.

I’m sure it’ll be worth it, until she stands in front of a packed hall and forgets entirely what the Angel Gabriel was up to, only that it had something to do with Birmingham. At least being a narrator means the costume requirements are quite simple – a hat, a scarf (Fleetwood Town of course) and a suitably festive jumper are all that is needed. Not like the Twins who have to turn up tomorrow dressed as a star and a spaceman. I’m not sure where Buzz Aldrin comes into the Christmas story, but that’s the modern Nativity for you – not like in my day.

I still remember lining up nervously in the corridors of my primary school, deep in the depths of Over Wyre, a steady drizzle outside filling in for the traditional Hollywood blizzard. The teatowel on my head indicated I was either a shepherd or a king – a speaking part, far better than the third sheep on the left role I’d made my own the previous year (the subtle baaa-ing and generally woolyness was definitely worthy of a BAFTA nomination).

I was the lucky one, no pointing at stars or tricky pronunciations – gold was my game, a carefully disguised biscuit tin thrust into my hands at the very last minute with strict instructions the baby Jesus was to receive his gift wrapped and to not ask questions about who ate all the jam creams.

The mission was to say your line, or lines, as fast as possible before exiting stage right (avoiding falling down the steps in your dressing gown), relieved the ordeal was over for another year.

Of course, I can’t wait to see my daughter in action, even if I do regret accidentally teaching her the alternative words to We Three Kings (one in a taxi, one in a car). To her and anyone else stepping on to the Nativity stage this week, good luck, or should that be, break a leg.