A Word In Your Ear - December 17, 2015

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‘Best get those pork pies out the fridge!’ called She Who Knows, as I made a cuppa before heading out to our afternoon tea dance.

It was the Christmas celebration for our weekly session at a St Annes hall and, this year, a Jacob’s Join party instead of sit-down hotel meal.

That was fine with us, as all our other regular sessions – like tennis, bridge and tai-chi – were holding parties other days. Yes, it’s great being retired!

This set me remembering works’ celebrations over the years. My first, at just 16 and legally too young to drink, was at Manchester Town Hall. Its extension, where I worked, had seven floors with parties on every one. We lads went up and down in lifts until dizzy – one way or another.

So many people disgraced themselves, or appalled visiting ratepayers and councillors, then suffered collisions or missed buses and trains going home, that office parties were banned afterwards.

Instead of party cans and sausage rolls, followed by embarrassing liaisons in stock rooms, our celebrations moved to posh nearby hotels or clubland ‘party nights’ that cost me most of my festive bonus.

Later, working in London, everyone lived so far from each other and had distant relatives to visit that we made do with a quick drink, before rushing round high streets for last-minute gifts.

Even later, when working overseas, I found to my dismay that locals didn’t celebrate Christmas. It was just another working day, though some of us did raise a glass and sing carols.

When finally coming home, here to the seasonally festive North West, newcomer reporters on the Gazette often found themselves doing Christmas Day duty, or awaiting the first baby of the New Year at Victoria Hospital.

Happily, that’s all now a distant memory of Christmases past . . .

Now, just where are those pork pies?

* For Roy’s books, visit www.royedmonds-blackpool.com.