Bermuda Haha – I’m not much of a Christmas Man

By Roger Crombie

My view is that either every day should be Christmas, or none of them. I have, however, mellowed somewhat as age has crept up on me: where I used to be Bah Humbug incarnate, now I am content for everyone to have a good time (big of me, eh?), provided I don’t have to join in.

This approach has never gained wide acceptance. For years, people would blow a fuse when I told them I planned to spend Christmas alone. You can’t do that, they’d say, and then insist that I join them for Christmas lunch. So I’d make up a story about how I was spending Christmas somewhere it wasn’t celebrated and, rather than being a liar, hide in the laundry room from about December 24th to January 2nd.

One year, when I was living in a small house at Palm Grove, the Devonshire estate, I told everyone I was off to Indonesia and so couldn’t join in the Yuletide merriment. I disliked the idea of Christmas so much at that time that I actually looked into airfare to Jakarta …

… which reminds me of a very old joke:

1st man: My wife went to Indonesia.

2nd man: Jakarta?

1st man: No, she went of her own accord.

Came the 25th, I locked the doors of my house and set about enjoying a quiet day off. At about 1 o’clock in the afternoon, I was pottering about in the kitchen, when there came a knock at the front door. I ignored it, hoping it was tourists visiting the magnificent gardens in front of the house. (If you haven’t been to Palm Grove Gardens, go there at once. It’s a wonderful, magical place. It’s free.)

By the time the knocking stopped, I had hidden myself in the bedroom, hoping whoever it was would give up in defeat and go away.

In those days in Bermuda, one never locked one’s doors or windows. Big mistake. Suddenly, to my horror, I heard the bathroom window being pulled up, followed by the unmistakable sounds of someone climbing in through it.

It was a woman I knew from work. She had driven from Southampton to demand that I join her and her family for Christmas, and wasn’t about to take no for an answer.

The event was, of course, memorialised by Paul McCartney in the Beatles’ song, although my friend wasn’t protected by a silver spoon. Didn’t anybody tell her … that it’s rude to enter a fellow’s house via the window?

She gave me a good telling off and insisted that I ride my bike in the rain to her house for what turned out to be a truly dreadful lunch, partly because it was Christmas, and partly because she had undercooked the frozen turkey. I still shudder to think about the whole thing.

As I say, I’ve mellowed. So a very merry Christmas to you. If you should need me, I’ll be in Indonesia.


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