Living frugally, as I do because the editors have not quite got round to awarding me the pay rise from last Christmas that they have been meaning to all year, I am looking for ways to celebrate the birth of that wee baby long, long ago on a low budget.
When I say celebrate, I mean party, but just with ourselves. If anyone else wants to join us in the back garden, please do. If anyone asks, we will just call it a business meeting. That works, apparently.
It might only work in London though. By all means, come round. Bring a bottle, preferably Châteauneuf-du-Pape or something like that, but you might not get in.
Remember to fix the evidence. Just leave it on the step with a note saying it is for “the business meeting”. In return, I will let you have a recipe for a quick and easy Christmas dinner. How’s that? Keep reading.
Showing off your fun side
I had a sip of a very fine wine at the weekend, as Joan Collins was on The Graham Norton Show. People over 50 like to watch her in case she has started to look her age. Nope. It’s ridiculous. She said in some other interview that she has had no “work” done and that her complexion is down to good make-up filling in the cracks.
She is something like 88 years young and has been in almost everything since she began as an 18-year-old extra in Lady Godiva Rides Again in 1951. From Star Trek to Hawaii Five-0, from The Stud to Dynasty and to the highlight of her career – having a Cinzano poured over her on a plane. That was not a film but a TV commercial with Leonard Rossiter. It showed her fun side and revitalised her career.
My fun side is being nice to scammers. The ones “from HMRC” are so helpful. All of the ones calling here over the last while have sounded as if they are from India. When I ask them, they tell me they are British and have been taxing people from their office beside Buckingham Palace. Last week’s guy, Kevin, said he had been doing it for 21 years.
Twenty-one years, eh? That’s funny because Kevin sounded as if he was 21 himself. I’d have discussed taxation policy with the fellow for longer. Sadly, however, as Kevin was telling me he could save me money for Christmas by letting me pay my next estimated tax bill if I went to Tesco now and bought a bunch of iTunes vouchers and gave him the serial numbers, we got cut off. Mrs X had terminated the call by pulling the plug out of the wall.
Have you had a dodgy phone call from a fraudster claiming to be from HMRC?
You are not alone, as HMRC say they responded to 340,303 reports of phone scams last year. #TheNine’s Consumer Affairs Correspondent @nick_sheridan received one of these calls and this is how it went. pic.twitter.com/7gSnj4POxG
— The Nine (@BBCScotNine) February 12, 2021
If there is one thing she dislikes, it is time-wasting scam merchants. I pretend to go along with them, making out I’ve given them access to my PC when I am merely microwaving a macaroni pie. When I say that I think my computer is going to catch fire as I watch the illuminated pie doing hot rotations, they hear whirring noises.
Then Mrs X barges in, grabs the phone off me, taking half my ear with it, and roars at them to get a life or karma will bite them somewhere tender. I do like it when she shouts at someone other than me.
Tips for an easy Christmas dinner
I also love it when I have a simple recipe to make Christmas dinner. This is easy and has just two ingredients – a turkey and a bottle of whisky. To prove it, I have already started preparing and I am going to cook our Christmas dinner right now, as I am writing this. First, buy the turkey and a bottle of fine uisge beatha. Done that.
Now, pour yourself a glass of whisky and put the turkey in the oven. Done. Take another two glasses of whisky, and set the degree at 375 ovens. Din. Have three more whiskies of drink and turn the oven on. Dinnae. Take four whisks of drinky and turk the bastey. Danny boo-ooy.
Stick a turkey in the thermometer and glass yourself a pour of whisky. Bake the whisky for four hours, take the oven out of the turkey, and floor the turkey up off the pick. Pour yourself another glass of turkey. Done perfectamundo.
On Saturday, all that will to be done and remain is tet the sable, and turk the carvey. Mary Chrismess.