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Saturday 15th December 2018


Eat drink and be merry. For next Christmas we’ll all be eating sawdust.
And with that in mind, before we put up our Christmas Tree this afternoon my wife made us all amazing hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallow and most importantly Baileys in it. It’s never too early for the kids to understand that Christmas is about being constantly drunk.
They didn’t really have Baileys. I was joking. We didn’t want to put them to sleep before their night time gin.
Anyway I went out to get a tree and then I had to go out again to get a base to put it in as the one we had already was too small. But now the tree is up and decorated. Phoebe really understands what is going on for the first time, whilst Ernie is a bit confused. Not that confused as everything is confusing to him and he doesn’t yet know that having a tree in the house is WRONG. But he knows it wasn’t there yesterday. And he likes it. It stopped him crying. And he’s been crying most of the time because he’s teething. Which is proof that there is no God or if there is he is an awful sadist. Who would put babies through this if you were creating everything from scratch? There must have been another way. So either this was God’s choice and He is evil or there is no God.

I finished my wife’s new book today. It has made me think about my own childhood a lot and the injustices that still burn forty years on. Loads came flooding back, like the time everyone was running the 1500 metres in games lesson when I was about 11. I wasn’t very good at sport generally, but I was pretty good at middle distance running. Maybe because the proper sporty kids found it tedious and loved the glamour of the 100 metres which I would trail the field in. But once things got over 400 metres I had the stamina to stay the course. And in this games lesson I crossed the line well ahead of everyone else. But the teacher hadn’t been paying attention and just saw me crossing the line and stopping and laughed and told me I had another lap to go. But I didn’t. I had done it and won it. But I had to run around again.
And when I was in a maths lesson when I was about 12 or 13 or teacher Brett Westmore (who I remember very little about apart from this story and the fact that when he introduced himself to us he said, “I’m Mr Westmore. I know you kids will find out my first name eventually so I’ll tell you, it’s Brett. And I don’t want to hear any of you calling me Wet Brestmore. I can’t for the life of me work out why he said this and did all our work for us. We weren’t that bothered about his first name and might well not have thought of the spoonerism, but now he’d handed it to us on a place and four decades on it is one of only two things I remember about him, as I think he only taught in or school for a year. Not the other hand, if he hadn’t said that I don’t think I’d remember him or his name at all) - anyway he told us about a famous mathematician (I’ve forgotten who) who as a child had been asked to add all the numbers from 1 to 100 together and had answered straight away and asked us if we could do it. I was quite good at maths and it struck me immediately that all I had to do was add 99 to 1 and 98 to 2 and so on and be left with just the 50 on its own. My hand shot up and I said “5050” and explained my working.
“Oh, you’ve obviously heard it before.”
But I hadn’t. I’d worked it out. Just like the famous mathematician whoever he was. Wet Brestmore had put me down unfairly. To be honest, it doesn’t seem like that brilliant a realisation or unbelievable that a reasonably intelligent 12 year old could work it out. And even writing this I am thinking, well maybe I had heard it before. But that’s just what Wet Brestmore wanted me to think. I had done it on my own and for one moment was as good at maths as math genius and Brestmore didn’t want to admit it because it ruined his brilliant bit of teaching.
But he wasn’t a brilliant teacher because I don’t remember the name of the mathematician. And I don’t want to know it. Obviously I could google it. But his name was Richard Herring. And maybe if Wet Brestmore had nurtured him rather than crush his mathematical dreams then he’d have won a Nobel Prize by now, instead of some Chortle Internet awards and a House of Games Trophy.

Oh sorry, just heard that all saws and saw operators will have to be returned to Europe post-Brexit, so we will just have to eat wood. But if you think about it, that is better than sawdust contaminated by EU saws and probably created by immigrants.

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