We recently ran an article about poorly educated, white, working-class males, a category which most readers, ignoring the obvious differences, clearly do not fall into. As you are sitting reading this letter, I’m hoping that you have forgiven my minor transgression in failing to use the present participle in Saturday’s letter.
The standard response would be to blame a sub-editor but as my career in media began with the very same job (a few more years ago than I would like to admit) I won’t come down too hard on them – yet.
Following Saturday’s twelfth night of Christmas, streets were littered with the sad sight of discarded Christmas trees yesterday. My children were mortified at the bare corner in the living room – especially when the trail of dried-up needles betrayed its real fate after I tried to explain to them that Santa had taken it to the great forest in the sky. They looked in dismay at the glittering lights, neatly coiled up in their boxes, waiting to be returned to the corner of the loft for the next 11 months. (How come, no matter how much care you take in putting them away, they always come out in a tangled mess?)
But at least their idle fingers can no longer scatter decorations behind the sofas or use them as weapons against each other. I’m sure many parents, after basking in the joys that children bring around Christmas, now can’t wait until their “little darlings” scuttle off back to school or nursery this week.
For the rest of us, many have already returned to work (or in some cases have not even been away), and the hordes will be back this week. I, for one, can’t wait: roads will return to gridlock, half-empty (more expensive) trains will be restored to beyond capacity and steamed-up buses will once again be standing-room only.
But don’t worry, we’ve only got another 351 days to go until we do it all again next year!
Stefano Hatfield is away