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Parma Ham...coming on Christmas Day

Eddie Mair | 06:58 UK time, Saturday, 23 December 2006

and it's still, thank goodness, the only occasion when a PM presenter has "lost it" on air.

Clare English and I were presenting. As was the case then, PM Letters appeared on a daily basis. We would take turns at writing the script each night.

This particular evening, out of the blue - Clare burst out laughing during the live reading of the letters. She lost it completely - tried to get it back - then lost it again even more.

The trigger word, as it turns out, was Parma as in Parma Ham. Once we were off the air (it took THAT long for her to stop laughing) she revealed that a mutual friend of ours was to blame. Stewart would always amusingly pronounce Parmesan cheese by hugely prolonging the 'a'. Paaaaaaaaaawwwwwwrmesan. Well, maybe you had to be there.

Anyway, it seems the way I said Parma Ham that night put Clare instantly in mind of that, and set her off, out of the blue. You can hear her on the clip, through laughter, saying something like "It's the way you said Parma".

Clare and I had worked together for years on PM and before that on BBC Radio Scotland so we were well used to coming close to setting each other off with giggles. This was our most spectacular fall. My favourite bit - if you turn up the volume very loudly - comes right after I've finished speaking, when Clare can be heard squealing with laughter still. All the time I was talking she had her head down on the desk and her shoulders were shaking like a cement mixer. Why we weren't fired I don't know. We did get one or two emails saying we'd been very unprofessional - but many many more saying what a good laugh it had been.

I'll post it here, on Christmas Day.


  1. At 08:01 AM on 23 Dec 2006, Jason Good wrote:

    Looking forward to it, Eddie.

    Paraphrasing Ridley Scott...On Radio no one can see you corpse...

  2. At 08:33 AM on 23 Dec 2006, madmary wrote:

    I for one can't wait!


  3. At 09:40 AM on 23 Dec 2006, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Well, as usual I probably won't get to hear this 'til I get home, as with other audio clips, but it'll be worth the wait :-)

  4. At 10:03 AM on 23 Dec 2006, gossipmistress wrote:

    Parma ham parma ham!! At last we'll get to hear it again....

    Thank you for the explanation - very amusing - all I can remember is a very scottish 'Paarma Ham', some mention of a Euro MP and an awful lot if giggles which seemed to go on for ages and set me off as I was driving. They couldn't sack you for that. Us listeners live to hear serious R4 presenters corpsing! Wasn't it on 'Pick of the Week' at the time?

    How long ago was it?

  5. At 10:10 AM on 23 Dec 2006, eddie mair wrote:

    Gossipmistress (4) I honestly don't remember. More than three years...

  6. At 11:24 AM on 23 Dec 2006, Aunt Dahlia wrote:

    Now you've shattered all my illusions. I was hoping it involved an elderly Italian thespian......

  7. At 11:55 AM on 23 Dec 2006, Aperitif wrote:

    Ah, Eddie, making all the ladies giglde as usual...

  8. At 11:59 AM on 23 Dec 2006, Confused of East Sussex wrote:

    The picture's up - and I'm off the hook. Thanks Eddie and team. Haven't you got some interesting-looking listeners? Think of the books you could publish from these, too: PM Kitchens, PM Lifestyles, PM Dogs ...

    Oh, and my daughter never made it to Gatwick last night. She's due to fly in to nearby Bristol tonight. That's an alternative flight? No wonder I'm confused.

  9. At 12:12 PM on 23 Dec 2006, Aperitif wrote:

    Ah, Eddie, making all the ladies giggle as usual...

  10. At 12:41 PM on 23 Dec 2006, jonnie wrote:

    Looking forward to it Eddie.

    Fearless, you can't be working on Christmas day surely ??

  11. At 12:45 PM on 23 Dec 2006, Aperitif wrote:

    Well! I'm not sure what I did there (7&9) but what is "giglding" anyway???

  12. At 01:30 PM on 23 Dec 2006, Valery P wrote:

    Don't know Ap, but i'm going to give it a try!

    ***Message for DOC HACKENBUSH!:-***
    This day in 2002 saw the death of musician Joe Strummer, formerly of British punk group The Clash, aged 50. The Clash were active between 1976 and 1986 and who, unlike some of the other early punk groups whose subject matter was often limited to girls, beers and nihilism, instead addressed issues such as politics, race, societal decay and militarism. During their career they helped forge strong links between the Punk, Reggae and Ska communities and supported many activist organisations. Strummer was also instrumental in establishing Future Forests and was ahead of the game when he became the first artist to release a 'carbon neutral' album to combat climate change. Read more at http://news.scotsman.com

    I saw this and thought of you! U might like to look it up Doc?

    Off to the shops - oh no....... I may be some time, eeek!

  13. At 02:32 PM on 23 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    Valery P, should we send out a St. Bernard yet? Or a search party, apparently it is our busiest shopping day yet & a nip of whatever it is in those barrels around their necks could be just the thing!

  14. At 02:37 PM on 23 Dec 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    For all travelling, a wee poyum.

    Safe arrivals and warm times with friends, neighbours and even kinfolk.


    Invite your friend to a feast, leave your enemy alone,
    And be sure to invite the fellow who lives close by.
    If you've got some kind of emergency on your hands,
    Neighbors come lickety-split, kinfolk take a while.
  15. At 03:01 PM on 23 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    When it is Christmas day, & anyone who is around can post, can we share how we are spending our day please? It would be lovely to know.

    The SO & I are opting out altogether this year, of any family business, which has lead to an entirely stress free experience. We plan to have scambled eggs on Christmas morning, open presents, get dressed, go for walk, have Christmas dinner about 3pm & watch old films. I expect it to be cosy & delightful & a bit of a retreat from the world really.

    I expect to have many other occasions when our day will be slightly noisier & spent with my delicious nephews, but we are savouring this one, & don't have any visits planned even. Some people I know (my lovely friend with triplets) are quite green & I’m not surprised; the only time I looked after them I managed to make all of them cry at different times in the afternoon & I’m great with children. I guess someone forgot to tell them.

    SO is off to watch a rugby match on boxing day, being dedicated to the Leicester Tigers as he is, & then is off work until January 2nd which is a bit of a shock frankly. We haven't spent so much time together since on holiday, & then Italy did most of the work being so beautiful that we didn't have to make much effort except saying isn't this lovely every so often!

  16. At 03:28 PM on 23 Dec 2006, jonnie wrote:

    What a lovely idea Helen.

    How the Froggers spend Christmas. I'm reasonably envious of you as it sounds quite idyllic.

    We will be going across the road to my Mothers place in the afternoon to join her for Christmas lunch along with my Uncle and Auntie. Then in the afternoon we are all invited to Chris J's place with his Mum and Dad for some drinks etc...

    Agree with the comments about Waitrose on the beach. It's so civilised after Asda.

  17. At 03:38 PM on 23 Dec 2006, madmary wrote:

    Once again Helen I can only assume that we were in fact separated at birth. Your day as planned is more or less the one I have planned, save for the fact that presents get opened at midnight on Christmas Eve/Morning as SO cannot bear to wait till morning.

    We are usually fairly tipsy when that happens so we have to spend some time in the morning inspecting the presents all over again.

    The other difference is that we have some smoked salmon in the scrambled eggs and bucks fizz.

    I will definitely be posting on Christmas day, and as I spend a huge amount of time by choice in my kitchen, giving a blow by blow account of the food preparations.

    I'd love to hear what others are doing.


  18. At 04:04 PM on 23 Dec 2006, Peter Wharton wrote:

    I read that a Govt report has suggested that in the not to distant future that robots will have 'human' rights.
    Robotism will be exercising the minds of the great and good.
    A robot may even get a knighthood or a seat in the Lords. I wonder if anyone would notice.

  19. At 04:16 PM on 23 Dec 2006, Roberto Carlos Alvarez-Galloso,CPUR wrote:

    I'm spending Christmas with my family and the BBC. Happy Chritsmas to BBC PM and all of the BBC PM froggers from Miami Florida.

  20. At 04:17 PM on 23 Dec 2006, Lissa, PM Blog Fairy on the Christmas Tree wrote:

    I'm spending Christmas Day at home with my husband, Nik. My Mum (who worships Eddie) is staying. (She's kindly painted our back bedroom today so has earned her presents). My sister and her husband will come over for dinner. We're having leg of lamb slow cooked for 7 hours so we can have a lazy day. I think we'll go into London for breakfast somewhere and maybe a walk in the park. Then on Boxing Day it's off to the in-laws with a very early start to get back to work on the 27th for our 7.30am start. Yikes.

    Have a very Merry Blog Christmas.

    PS Nik has bought Mr Enos Knibbs (our cat) a tin of posh turkey cat food for Christmas Day. I expect once he's eaten that he will go back to sleep. (You can see Mr Knibbs - he's the lead reindeer in Gossipmistress's card in Eddie's 19 December entry).

  21. At 04:44 PM on 23 Dec 2006, jonnie wrote:

    Re (Lissa)

    Bless Mr Enos Knibbs he looks a very happy cat.

    Nice for your Mum to get stuck in on the bedroom. Was that her present for you and Nik I wonder ?

    Thanks for all the work you and the team have done with the blog. I did join in the toast on the beach. Hope you have a lovely Christmas xx

  22. At 04:49 PM on 23 Dec 2006, madmary wrote:

    I hope you have an absolutely wonderful day Lissa (and Nik and Mr Knibbs and all the rest). Happy Christmas!


  23. At 05:03 PM on 23 Dec 2006, Peter Wharton wrote:

    Tomorrow I go and stay with my elderly mother and step-father. On Christmas day I take them up to my Sister and Brother in Law. There will be a family gathering opening presents and a lunch.
    There will be a brace of Lt Cols (one active, one retired), a pension administrator, stock market trader and a tea broker. Others present will include
    poor me.
    I am now going to drink some red vino to try and overcome my inferiority comlex.
    Just heard on the news, are we going to attack Iran?
    Speak to you after Christmas, politics permiting.

  24. At 05:26 PM on 23 Dec 2006, Jason Good wrote:

    Peter (23) I just heard the same thing. The Iranians must be quaking in their boots. This might explain why the Americans have sent yet another fleet to the region. We all know how easy it is to "project power" without actually needing to put any troops on the ground.

    Of course there is the minor matter of collateral damage but, given the Iraq experience, I'm sure this won't be a big problem. For those giving the orders.

  25. At 05:45 PM on 23 Dec 2006, madmary wrote:

    Peter, I have this wonderful image of the Christmas Dining Table at your festivities. It mainly looks like a Merchant Ivory film redolent of the dying Empire, but more importantly I see the two Lt Cols recreating a military battle a la the Four Feathers, moving the salt and pepper pots and rearranging the nuts. Maybe they could solve the middle east crisis, after all wasn't the Four Feathers set in that sort of area (my geography is terrible).


  26. At 05:48 PM on 23 Dec 2006, Charles Hatton wrote:

    Peter Wharton (18)

    Have you not heard Hazel Blears? She's like one of those electronic station announcers. The nu-labour phrases all butted together with a veneer of sense and context.

  27. At 07:39 PM on 23 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    Johnnie, please don't mention Asda again, again I can't go into details but I know you like me enough to spare me nausea!

    Peter Wharton, you are far superior to any Lt. Colonels!

    madmary, indeed we are! Though I would prefer not be in the kitchen really, but am thwarted by SO being unable to cook AT ALL. Had his mother not sadly passed away shortly before I met him, I would have had words! SO doesn't like smoked salmon, fussiness about food being another thing I would have had something to ask of Mother Taylor! Shopping in a supermarket with me for the first time, he said it was like being on another planet, I think that was about the cous cous. He also doesn't drink, but I shall be working my way through a bottle of champagne throughout the day, & might add orange juice for breakfast.

    Are we invading Iran for Christmas then? Or is the show of force a Bay of Pigs scenario? Can I opt out of everything now please? I despair, I just despair, I am going to read God's Politics right now to try and understand how Bush & Blair can possibly have the moral compass of Christianity.

  28. At 08:03 PM on 23 Dec 2006, Anne P. wrote:

    Just waiting for an influx of offspring plus daughter-in-law. Mother, aged 90, already here and on Christmas day we will also have father-in-law (in his 100th year), brother-in-law, plus dog, and husband's cousin - eleven to sit down to lunch if I have counted it right.

    The children will be up fairly early but nothing like as early as they once were, and will insist on the traditional right to open one present before breakfast. Then everyone has to have eaten breakfast, made their beds and tidied up before main present opening is allowed ( a technique employed when they were little to prevent Christmas being over before breakfast!). Then coffee and all hands to prepare the veg.

    Visitors will arrive (usually late, as brother-in-law has to collect them) and we will eat about 2pm, then some will go for a walk while some snooze. Perhaps a little gentle game playing. Tea with Christmas cake and mince pies for those with any room left, and then it will be Dr Who! Father-in-law will wonder why we want to watch it, but my mother insists! (so do most of us for that matter).

    After visiting contingent leave there may be some more games playing, general sitting around drinking and chatting - offspring actually quite civilized these days.

    And that will be another Christmas over with us all wondering at the amount of time it takes to prepare, and how quickly it goes on the day.

    At least that's my hope. If I get a chance I'll let you know if it goes to plan, although my study will be occupied by eldest daughter and a folding bed, so may have trouble getting to the laptop.

    Happy Christmas everyone.

  29. At 08:17 PM on 23 Dec 2006, gossipmistress wrote:

    I shall be in work from 8.30 til 4.30 on Christmas Day, but don't feel too sorry for me - it is my turn and with a bit of luck Christmas Dinner will be on the table by the time I've finished!

    Previous Christmas days I've worked we've had quite a few emergencies - cats chewing up baubles, "My dog's swallowed an alien" (turned out to be a sticky rubbery toy in a plastic pod) and when I first qualified, my personal favourite
    "The dog's just collapsed whilst watching Jim Davidson" (not feigning illness as it turned out, but suffering from a very slow heartrate).

    So if we're quiet, I may get the chance to pop down to the beach, as the digital Xray viewer has an internet connection. Mind you, it also has a Daniel Craig 007 screensaver......

  30. At 08:27 PM on 23 Dec 2006, whisht wrote:

    Hi all,

    I doubt I'll be able to post on Christmas day as I'll be at my sister's with my 2 brothers, brother-in-law and niece.

    The "plan" this year is to not be too hectic and have christmas dinner late-ish around 5pm.

    Now... this wasn't my plan, but my brother and sister's and seeing as they're doing the cooking, I won't argue.

    However... that leaves an awfully long time between the first drop of christmas cheer and sitting down to eat.... I think we'll be giggling into our starters!!

    You'll be pleased to know that we each have our alloted 'roles' in all this. One brother will be looking after the cooking, and one will be ensuring that our 6-year-old niece gets a good run round the park with a football! She's got a wicked left foot and I believe that I should be getting football scouts from Arsenal Ladies to look at her (before either of my brothers get scouts from Man U or Spurs!!). My role is on "art" duties with whatever comes to hand - generally my pressies!

    Me and the sporty brother will then wash and dry up.

    after all that we'll collapse into the sofas and watch rubbish on the TV. However, just in case this is awful (again!) I have bought my brother (far more intelligent than I) a gift that is designed to inspire converstions... so maybe we'll be happily arguing late into the evening!!!!

    if I don't get a chance to say it elsewhere (I'm gonna have to hunt for the beach..) then Merry xmas everyone, and I hop my xmas card didn't offend!

  31. At 08:27 PM on 23 Dec 2006, madmary wrote:

    Anne P. you need to get a wireless router (if you have broadband). You can take your laptop to the bathroom if you so wish!

    Your planned day sounds wonderful.


  32. At 08:36 PM on 23 Dec 2006, whisht wrote:

    oh this is fantastic!!!!!

    I'm reading Anne P's description of what xmas will be like and realise that THIS is the organic, fantastic thing that this blog is!! Other peoples lives! Each of us describing a memorable day before it happens - the anticipation!!

    This lets me into a window on people's worlds far more than a photo!! Weirdly, although a picture tells a thousand words, they may not be the words the person intended to say! Sure, if I hear what they meant and can compare that's wonderful, but I really want to hear the tens of words people want to say as to the thousands I might invent from a still image!

    thankyou to all who write what they're planning!

    (obviously I know that people aren't writing for my benefit its just that I do benefit (as one of thousands of others) and just wanted to say thankyou personally.... if that makes sense!)

  33. At 09:04 PM on 23 Dec 2006, madmary wrote:

    whisht, people do write for your benefit because you write and make folk laugh. And we write for Roberto from Florida because somehow that makes it all so romantic, and for Aperitif because she so wants Eddie to write to her personally, and to Val P because she's Val, and to jonnie because he shares us with celebrities and to HelenSparkles who cares so much and LadyPen who has beautiful young people around her, and Simon Worral who is (forgive me Si) our darling Grumpy Old Man, and Ed I who is crazy and lives "the good life" up North somewhere and RJD (where is he?) who is kind and loving and ... and ...

    Maybe more later.

    Let nobody say that the internet is destroying communication or literacy or human relations.


  34. At 09:43 PM on 23 Dec 2006, hippie wrote:

    I can't wait!!!!

  35. At 09:56 PM on 23 Dec 2006, Sara wrote:

    Dear Madmary (33) - you make me feel so much better! I do envy you and Helen Sparkles. I fetched mother today (92) and the SO fetched his aunty (84) and since they were together they have done nothing but bicker. What is it about my mother! She was wonderful once. Now she is the person I would least like to know. She is quite horrid about people and there seems no kindness in her. What shall I do? I hid in the kitchen and cried.

    Joy here on the frog - I will come as often as I possibly can. Great big Christmas hugs to all you lovely froggers.

    Meanwhile I will go and look for some ho! ho! ho! in a bottle.

  36. At 10:12 PM on 23 Dec 2006, madmary wrote:

    Sara, being crotchety comes to us all. I didn't get on with my mother for most of my adult lilfe, until one day I told her that she clearly needed me more than I did her, and that if she wanted to know me it would be on my terms. It only took a few weeks before the relationship changed. I had three good years of knowing her as a friend before she died.

    Don't cry. Use your kitchen as I do. Make it your haven, if you don't have a stool in their take in a chair. Focus on making lovely things, or just listening to the radio. Tell you mother and your SO's aunt that they are not to behave that way in your home, and that it's definitely unChristmassy. What's the worst that can happen. Tell your mother how lovely she can be if she tries.

    Worst comes to the worst, jump into the blog and see what the PM Santa has to offer you on Christmas day.

    Mary xxx

  37. At 10:26 PM on 23 Dec 2006, madmary wrote:

    Oops, spot the deliberate typos in my last post. I'm trying to watch TV as I type.


  38. At 10:48 PM on 23 Dec 2006, Sara wrote:

    Dear Madmary - thank you for your kind thoughts. My children can't understand how it all gets to me, but the truth is that I have spent my whole life in doing what I was taught - please mother. The difficulty I have is that she is clearly an amazing woman at 92 - everyone admires her, she plays a mean game of bridge, she is beautifully dressed and utterly wonderful. But sadly not nice or kind. She decimates me. But it is now a bit late to change. She has been so looking forward to coming to stay over Christmas and I cannot spoil it for her.

    Will you be frolicking on the beach on Christmas Day? I shall very much look forward to meeting you and the others there.

    Do you think there is a magic button which is timed to set off the new beach? Surely Eddie isn't going to have to do this himself!

    I think I must go back to the ho ho ho in a bottle. BTW there definitely is ho ho ho in a bottle. I promise.

  39. At 11:31 PM on 23 Dec 2006, madmary wrote:

    Sara, I will definitely be there on the beach on Christmas day.


  40. At 11:50 PM on 23 Dec 2006, admin annie wrote:

    I'm just testing because I just wrote a long comment to Sara and the blog said it couldn't find the page to post to and now it's lost.

  41. At 12:05 AM on 24 Dec 2006, Sara wrote:

    Madmary - have just tried to post a comment on your blog but it didn't like me! So I will just say that the highlight of my day has been your companionship here this evening. Am now much better (may be something to do with the Ho ho ho) and anyway the two ladies have gone to bed.

    I think I may be off to bed too.

    I wonder if anyone's on the beach - but I'm too tired to check.

  42. At 12:07 AM on 24 Dec 2006, admin annie wrote:

    So I'll try again. Sara my relationship with my mother was exactly like yours and she was just a whiz at emotional blackmail as well.

    I was 35 before I realised that even if I was perfect I still wouldn't be good enough for her. From her comment that my degree was 'hardly worth going all the way to Leeds to collect' to her reaction when I told her I was expectiung my second child ' well that's good news, if I'm still around to see the birth, I've had a recall from my smear test', whatever I did or said the wind had to be taken out of my sails.

    Of course your children don't understand how you get yourself into such a state - because THEIR mother isn't like that! And your SO won't understand either because he hasn't got the years of emotional baggage that you're carrying.

    I wish I could tell you how to cope but I don't think that I ever really cracked it, but it helps to realise that you're not alone, also that your mother's opinions aren't actually statements of fact. Try and work in a few minutes every so often on your own while she's with you. Remind yourself that her opinion of you is not the only one, and actually it's not the most important one either.

    I will be here on Christmas Day off and on and I will be thinking of you as well. BTW if you get really wound up punching a pillow sounds corny, but it's surprisingly helpful.

    Oh and you're not responisble for the bickering either; that's what they're doing. Don't feel guilty about it. If they want to snap and snarl at one another that's their choice.
    Sorry to sound like an agony aunt.

  43. At 12:24 AM on 24 Dec 2006, jonnie wrote:

    O Sara,

    I know it's difficult but just try - if possible - to see the humourous side of it.

    Try not to let it get to you.

    Hope you make the most of it all

    big Hug from us in Bournemouth xx

  44. At 12:31 AM on 24 Dec 2006, Annasee wrote:

    Hi Froggers. Well my Xmas starts here, as I'v e just started a glass of wine (you may be able to tell that from the typing) because I've FINISHED my 24 performances of the ballet. You have no idea of the excitement that we felt as we neared the home run tonight. Almost tangible. I couldn't believe the amount of chocolate & alcohol (bandroom "strictly alcohol free "- management- yeah, right...) that has been consumed this week. Not by me, I hasten to add. Hence the wine now though.

    I'll be working on Xmas Day at a large hotel, playing for lunch until 3 30pm. Then our Xmas Day really starts as we go to some Chinese friends for a meal after that. We will be the only non-Chinese couple there, which will do us good to feel in a cultural minority for a change. I have to make profiteroles & chocolate sauce to bring with us - will do that tomorrow. Daughter & SO made mince pies today (I made the pastry & left them to do the rest when I went to work today).

    Then on Boxing Day I'm playing at a large Spa Hotel in the evening. Have been going there for years, they seem to like it. Sometimes people wander around the hotel in their bathrobes, which strikes quite a relaxed note.

    Can't think beyond that, but I know there are some weddings looming later in the week.
    Hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a trouble-free family experience over the break!

    Sara, can I recommend a book by Gina Ford I've just got from the library called "Good Mother, Bad Mother" about women's experiences of their mothers & how it changes over the years, & how they realise why their mothers are like they are. Very frank, quite tearful stuff, but your experience isn't as unusual as you think. Read it & feel reassured!

    Happy Christmas All!

  45. At 01:15 AM on 24 Dec 2006, RobbieJohnDo wrote:

    Madmary & Sara & Admin Annie and whoever else is still here.

    I had quite a long piece written here to send to you but I’ve just deleted it and decided to limit my bit to saying that I admire you all and the support you give to each other.

    My Christmas will be spent with the in-laws (or outlaws as I think of them) and will be tolerable because they know that after 25 years, they rely on us for Christmas Day cheer more than they we rely on them. That probably doesn’t sound very charitable, which is a pity, because I do like them and enjoy their company. I hope that make sense.

    This is probably the last post before Christmas, so have a good time everyone.

  46. At 01:16 AM on 24 Dec 2006, Valery P wrote:

    Big hug from me too Sara. Been there, had the emotional blackmail, now have (mostly) happy memories, but also a load of hang-ups which can't be laid to rest because I never gainsaid what she was doing to me in her lifetime.

    It's hard to live up to a parent who everyone else thought to be the kindest, most selfless, optimistic etc, etc. (another snappy-dressing bridge player too!). She was truly all that and more, having had a radical mastectomy at 39, becoming widowed at 40, and raising Big Bro and me till she was 78. Thing is she was still raising us then, she felt total responsibility for every part of us, and consequently, I never took responsibility for myself until she died (I was 49!).

    Enough introspection - all I really meant to say was, life is life, it's what you make of it and it's never too late to take charge! I'm off to the Beach to celebrate having spent all evening wrapping presents and watching the Prodigal Anthropologist's choice of TV programmes, and feeling glad that he's happy to share his humour with me!

  47. At 01:46 AM on 24 Dec 2006, Valery P wrote:

    Forgot to say, our Christmas will still start with the nearly 18 and 20 year olds bringing their stockings through to our room to show us what mad diversions Santa has brought them!

    Breakfast will then be force-fed (as has already been mentioned, a tradition begun when they were tiny, in order to try to stave off huge ingestion of chocolate on an empty stomach) followed by a line up at the sitting room door, when they are finally allowed in to gaze in awe at the presents from Santa in front of the fireplace and presents from others under the tree. (Yes really, Santa still calls briefly at our house!)

    Whisht, we shall be with you giggling before Christmas Dinner even starts, because we eat, usually, (depends on size of party etc) mid-afternoon-ish. This year it's just the 4 of us, and TD has already announced that she plans to spend the day in her jammies until it's time to dress for dinner. I think I may adopt that practice myself - of course I'll have to don outer garments to take the dog for a big walk while the turkey's cooking!

    Whatever else we do, I'll be dropping by to see what's happening on the Christmas Frog. Must stagger off to bed now.

  48. At 02:41 AM on 24 Dec 2006, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Valery P (Sounds Fab) wish I was part of it!

    Re: RobbieJohnDo (thanks for hanging on in there when the NI blog bit got blogged up) I love reading your posts !

  49. At 02:56 AM on 24 Dec 2006, jonnie wrote:

    Question to a PM Moderator

    Will you be there on Christmas day ?

    We don't actually know ?

    Please tell us ?


    (and thanks a million times for what you all do)

  50. At 03:00 AM on 24 Dec 2006, jonnie wrote:

    Hey these posts are going straight through on a refresh

    Testing !!

  51. At 09:18 AM on 24 Dec 2006, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Hi Everyone!

    Can't stay long, as niece is almost finished eating breakfast, and will want to come back on the PC. Just thought I'd swing by and say hi. I managed the trek over to Norfolk in the grotty weather yesterday without too much trouble, but I'd forgotten what it's like going from sleeping in a nice big double bed to a little camp bed in the dining room! I think I'll be pretzel-shaped before this is all over :-$

    Anyway, I bring supplies for the beach. Look behind the NCMB, and you'll see a crate of 6X, 2 barrels of Liffey water, three bottles of malt (Bushmills, Macallan, & Laphroig), and six bottles of champers. I suggest we leave the last for celebrating at 12:01:-)


  52. At 10:06 AM on 24 Dec 2006, eddie mair wrote:

    I was wondering for a moment whether anyone would be able to post today and tomorrow. I posted a cheeky "Testing" after Jonnie (50) around 0600 but it has not appeared. I honestly don't know what the arrangements are for over the festives. There is probably some poor soul monitoring - in which case, Happy Christmas to you - but if posting proves impossible tomorrow, we'll just have to work something out!

  53. At 10:25 AM on 24 Dec 2006, madmary wrote:

    Morning everyone! And Morning Sara. I might post something about my mother on my blog which you can access by clicking on my name. I will do that later today so that I don't clutter up the beach with more tales of emotional blackmail!

    FFred, I shall join you in a glass of champers some time after midnight if I may, thank you.

    Today is the start of my real Christmas.

    I've been for a walk and I've seen some water voles!!!!! I tried to take a picture but they weren't having it. I also saw some robins. All this in the middle of Birmingham. Beautiful.

    I'm now in my kitchen utilising the mysteries of wireless internet connections and have over a coffee I'm contemplating the preparations for tomorrows meal.

    Today I shall be making stuffing - two kind, chestnut and sage and onion, prepping the sprouts (yes I love them), parsnips and making braised red cabbage and apple. I shall pop some cranberried in it this year. I shall also make some cranberry and orange relish with the remainder of the fruit.

    For tea we will have shepherd's pie, something simple before the blow out tomorrow.

    I'll keep you posted folks and put some samples on the NCB.


  54. At 10:38 AM on 24 Dec 2006, Fifi wrote:

    Oh dear, that's another half an hour of good card-delivering time spent catching up with you lot!

    Sara, I'm with you 100%. I'm an only-child with a mother not unlike yours ... I dodged the whole thing this year by declaring, shamefully late in the day, that we were staying down here for Christmas.

    Balloons of lead in Scotland.

    So, Christmas here will be utterly traditional: porridge for breakfast, which will bubble away quietly while we open the presents. Porridge and champagne go brilliantly together by the way.

    When we start feeling peckish I'll get out the foie gras someone brought us back from France.

    And when we get hungry I'll throw together the fajitas currently marinading in the fridge.

    We might go for a walk in the afternoon, depending how tipsy we've got, and there may be some singing with SO.

    Basically, a day of slobbing out, watching telly, eating & drinking far too much, playing with Daisy, and then having some more to drink.

    I will definitely drop in at the Beach to see what leftovers everyone else has brought, and will rustle up a very eclectic risotto over the barbie.

    Boxing Day, we're over at Max the red setter's house, for more drink, more food and a DvD of Pirates of the Caribbean II!

    A final thought for Sara: at this stage in your mother's life, you simply can't please the woman. You feel you should try ... don't.

    Instead, I suggest you risk a tantrum, a really big one. Consider ... what is the worst that could happen? Could it make things any worse? Really visualise the worst that could result, and imagine how you would feel about it.

    Top tantrum tips:
    1. Call her names.
    'Selfish' 'thoughtless' 'bitchy' 'uncaring' 'two-faced' 'manipulative'.... Write them down beforehand. Only say the ones you mean!
    2. Ignore any tears and keep yours till later.
    Tears are not switched on deliberately, but they are nevertheless a cruel disabler of any rebellious adult child. Sneer at them during the tantrum (you can always apologise for just-that-bit later if you want to).
    3. Say that it is YOUR right to have a good Christmas.
    You work hard all year for that right, and you will not tolerate her ruining it.
    4. Threaten to take her straight back home again if she doesn't at least put a sock in it.
    Mean every word. The 'naughty step' works on brats of all ages! And 'alone at Christmas' is one thing no parent of her age and generation wants to be.
    5. Get past the tantrum.
    Once it's over, let it go. Don't dwell on anything said or unsaid, just go right back to the Christmas you would have been having if your mum were a kinder person.

    Next Christmas, I will be doing much the same thing myself!

    Sorry, long post. But finished in the traditional manner:

    * hug * for Sara, and for the others who have shared their personal experiences and insights so bravely today.

    Fifi x

  55. At 10:39 AM on 24 Dec 2006, Fifi wrote:

    Eddie (52) : This is really cutting edge stuff for the BBC's blogging experiment.

    What happens when everyone wants Christmas off -- apart from the bloggers?

    I foresee theses* being written about this in years to come.


    * careful note: this is NOT Fifi Rhyming Slang!!!

  56. At 10:39 AM on 24 Dec 2006, madmary wrote:

    Oh dear! My typing hasn't improved since last night!

    I shall have to start previewing my posts.

    I trust the blog will be hear on Christmas day! If not then you're all invited to post on my blog as a temporary measure.


  57. At 10:46 AM on 24 Dec 2006, Gillian wrote:

    Eddie, thanks for looking after us. I have Mother and sister from Wiltshire staying with us, we're off to the town to have a wander around and see what we fancy buying just for us. Nice to mosey around without any pressure after all the frenzy. I'm still waiting to find out if my children- 15,16 and 20- want Santa to leave their sacks secretly beside their beds as usual or if they'll come and get them from under the tree when they wake up. I'm still coming to terms with having to wait for them to wake up before I can open my pressies, after years of trying to persuade them that 3 am is not a good time!

  58. At 10:58 AM on 24 Dec 2006, gossipmistress wrote:

    FFred! Please send in a photo when you are 'Pretzel-shaped'!:-)

  59. At 11:10 AM on 24 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    Gillian, as a guide, I was very upset when my stocking was given back to me when I was 35. The duty was delegated to my SO who has not taken up the batton!

  60. At 11:18 AM on 24 Dec 2006, LadySnorkPenMaiden wrote:

    Morning all :-)

    All the Gorgeous Young Men have gone home (some of them stayed the night on Thursday and scuttled off home just before I took my own two to King's Lynn to get the bus and cross the county to stay with their father over Christmas). The house is now incredibly quiet, though I can still hear them if I listen very very hard . . .

    They have left Mess as evidence of their existence, but I can live with that.

    Christmas morning I shall drive down to my sister's in Hampshire, where I shall spend the day with her, her SO, his father, and whichever of her two grownup children and their partners show up. She will make be making triple quantities of bread sauce so she can eat most of it before it ever gets as far as the table and I won't be able to taste ANYthing as I'm still getting over Aunt Dahlia's and Jonnie's Simon's cold and everything tastes of nothing :-(

    I just want to add my voice to the others who've said how much they appreciate the company of everyone who comes here and to the beach - and to all the members of the PM crew who continue to make this virtual community possible.

    Life would be a duller place without it, and you've all enriched mine simply by allowing me to get to know you a bit.

    To those of you with toxic mothers (can't remember whose description that was. Not mine, sadly): I had a father like that. It wasn't until I was in my 40s that I said 'If you can't talk to me with respect, I'd rather you didn't talk to me at all' and I never heard from him again. It was such a relief.

    He even left me out of his will. By that time, I wouldn't have wanted his money anyway (tho it would have come in jolly handy, obviously . . .)

    Years after he died, his brother's wife told me that he never got over the fact that his eldest child (ie me) wasn't a boy. So he took his disappointment out on me. I never stood a chance. How sad.

    Don't despair, Sara. The only purpose of spiteful, thoughtless, cruel people (if they can be said to have had one at all) is to make sure their children turn out completely the opposite.

    Now I must go and do my last-minute shopping. Cigarettes, petrol and cat food. O joy. I can only hope that the zillions of people who were out doing theirs on Friday are safely locked up at home, hatches battened down against whatever frightful calamity they thought was going to result if they didn't clear the supermarket shelves single-handedly . . .

    Mairy Christmas, all :-)


  61. At 11:48 AM on 24 Dec 2006, whisht wrote:


    the book suggestion sounds good (Annasee 44) but the advice from admin annie (42) is worth looking back at and reading through again. Your mother's opinion is only the opinion of one person who obviously has issues of her own.

    The only thing I can add is that you have a helluva lot of people thinking about you (and others in similar situations) and that our experience of you has been a joy (and that's obviously the opinion of a lot of people).

    Also, when a person dies you aren't able to ask them anything. Or tell them anything. Its obvious I guess, but don't regret not saying something to your mum (though admittedly you may leave that till after xmas) but still.... worth saying things while she's alive - its actually fairer to her as she has a chance to realise her actions are hurting you and change. And although primarily you're doing this for yourself, actually you're doing it for her as well).

    Listening to the Charlie Brown Xmas Special also helps (its what I've got on now...!!)

    Hug from me at least x

    On a separate note - Merry xmas to the moderator!!

  62. At 12:00 PM on 24 Dec 2006, Valery P wrote:

    MMary - I'm going to check out your blog now, but the last time I tried it wouldn't let me on! Did you re-jig it at all?

    Christmas Hugs to All!

  63. At 12:01 PM on 24 Dec 2006, LadySnorkPenMaiden wrote:

    PS Warning to anyone thinking of coming to H*nstant*n to use the carwash: don't. Most of the country is already waiting in the queue.


  64. At 12:12 PM on 24 Dec 2006, gossipmistress wrote:

    Mary - you may need to leave some free time on Christmas day to make the most of your christmas present (ho ho ho!)

    LadySnorkPM - Bread sauce is HUGE in our family. When we all meet the weekend after christmas for our second christmas(!) my sister, mum & I may even be fighting over who makes it. Probably Niece & Nephew too!

    Sara - I hope things are better than you hope. Fifi's excellent posting led me to think of some advice from one of Raj Pesaud's books - if all else fails, treat them like a pet: ignore the bad behaviour, reward the good. And give her a nice juicey bone to knaw on .... (I don't think he actually said that last bit)

    Suggestion for 2007 blog - a spelchekker???
    (I've just corrected (I hope!) about 15 of mine).
    Or maybe Val P would like to do it? GMx

  65. At 01:31 PM on 24 Dec 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Hi guys,
    I'm popping in again. SO is around so much at the moment, along with all the stuff to do - Sadly, he is of a rather 'jealous' disposition, in that, if he's not at the heart of what's happening, he gets a bit 'funny'. And so I don't openly blog with him about. He hates the computer and me sitting at the keyboard. Sigh. Isn't life strange?
    I'm going to move onto the next thread now and will see what's there.
    Big kisses to all froggers
    Big Sis x

  66. At 02:06 PM on 24 Dec 2006, Perky wrote:

    Hi and Happy Christmas to all froggers. Hoping to be able to log on and have a Parma Ham giggle tomorrow, but I had 5 spare minutes today to catch up with you all - I wish you all the very best of Christmasses - especially to those who have troublesome relatives...

    I am off to an evening church service later today, followed by supper with the kids' godparents. Tomorrow, we have my Mum and brother for the day, followed by DH's parents, sister, brother and family on Boxing Day. Bread sauce and mince pies are made, Christmas cake is iced, and my lovely daughter is making a blueberry cake for her uncle's Christmas present, so all is well so far.

    We're on the move next year - from Yorkshire to Surrey, so this will be the last Christmas in our lovely house (why is it you move just after you've re-done the bathrooms?) and we're going to make the most of it. Bring on the fizz and turn the volume up on those carols!

    To Eddie, all the PM team and everyone who reads and writes on this lovely family noticeboard - have a wonderful Christmasxx

  67. At 04:02 PM on 24 Dec 2006, Gillian Stone wrote:

    The town (lichfield) was lovely, not too busy, and the three of us bought something for ourselves. Came home to hot mulled wine and blueberry and frangipane tart....but not JUST blueberry etc, with Walnut ice cream. We are preparing our stomachs for tomorrow. The 7 of us who are here now will go and join our brother, his wife and daughter for Christmas Dinner, and return here when all the bubbly has run out. It will be strange as we haven't been anywhere but our own home for Christmas Dinner for about 15 years. Mom and sister leave us on Wednesday. Happy Christmas to all froggers and PM

  68. At 10:46 PM on 24 Dec 2006, Deepthought (John W) wrote:

    Beach appears quite deserted tonight, so I'll use this stick and draw a large


    in the sand above the current high-tide mark, so everyone can see it as they pop in.

    Last few days - don't ask.

    Am now going to collapse into bed, and hope mother doesn't ring me too early tomorrow. Maybe able to pop by tomorrow night at this time, having cooked her an xmas dinner during the day (at her place, she'd never get up the stairs to mine these days).

  69. At 11:06 PM on 24 Dec 2006, madmary wrote:

    Happy Christmas Deepthought. I've been on the beach all evening but I've been quiet just reflecting on the tide going out.


  70. At 01:26 AM on 25 Dec 2006, Valery P wrote:

    Merry Christmas DeepThought - we've missed you over the last few weeks. Hope all will be well?

    Just realised the family will be reduced to eating only my home made (ie, invented, see the entry after Chris, London's spaghetti carbonara) cranberry sauce, as I forgot to buy any. I love to make my own, variations on a theme each year. They politely take a little, but they do like shop-bought too. Tomorrow they are stuck with red onion, cranberry, zest and flesh of an orange, simmered with muscovado sugar and splurges of Cr*bbie's Green Ginger.
    Don't try this at home until I've reported in tomorrow!
    Mmary you have talked me into making gravy out of the giblets. We don't usually have gravy because I don't like it (cook's privileges), but this year as I went to hurl them into the bin, I remembered your posting - so again, we'll see how it goes!

    Big Sis, I feel for you with the SO frog ambivalence, they seem not to like it when you take up a new interest, do they? I hope mine doesn't take offence at the Grumpy Old Men book that he finds in his Stocking.......

    Gossipmistress - your wish is my command. I'd love to be a spell checker!

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