A Word In Your Ear - December 12, 2013

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On the cheery streets of Great Marton, it’s like Christmas Tree Wars as stores line up pines for festive sale. Meanwhile, the pub on our corner looks like Santa’s Grotto after barmaids entered a decoration competition.

Edmonds Towers has opted for subtler celebrations. I’m not required to ascend the roof this year and erect a flashing Father Christmas. After our last energy bill, Santa’s carbon footprint will be smaller.

Instead of our usual fibre-optic tree, She Who Knows has a modern pyramid of glittering tinsel in reds, and greens – very tasteful.

As Poirot actor David Suchet observed recently, a woman sets the tone and atmosphere of home. If she’s happy, everyone else tends to be.

“A happy wife means a happy life,” David concluded wisely, showing he’s been polishing those little grey cells.

It’s in similar mood I carelessly toss open our joint bank account when buying my beloved’s Christmas gifts.

Sadly, this generosity is not typical, as I realised when discussing the matter at the grotto – sorry, I mean, pub.

In fact, it was the ladies who started the conversation.

“What’s the worst present he’s bought you?” one asked another.

“A Workmate,” she said flatly, meaning a fold-up bench for carpentry and other DIY tasks.

Another, married to a keen gardener, was bought a sack of Christmas manure.

My own worst mistakes came from clicking on wrong items when shopping online after a festive libation. A face cream I bought was for “combatting wrinkles”, while a shower gel “reduced fatty tissue”.

But another brave fool at our local took top prize for gift gaffes, as his wife grimly recalled: “He bought me an ironing board!”

n Roy’s novels and humorous histories are available online or in stores. Signed copies are at: Gazette reception; Plackitt & Booth, in Lytham; Blackpool Cricket Club, the Saddle Inn and St Paul’s Church, on Whitegate Drive. For full details and more - visit