Dom Joly: It was trolleys at dawn and pterodactyls at dusk

Share
Related Topics

Thank God it's all over for another year. I do enjoy Christmas, it's just that the lead-up to the event is so stressful. We decided on a dawn raid on Waitrose the day before Christmas Eve... unfortunately our plans were discovered and the secret was out. We arrived to find that everyone in Cirencester was trying to do the same – it was a shambles.

In one corner families struggled for control of the pancetta. Elsewhere pitched battles were being fought in the semolina aisle after Our Lady of Nigella had announced that this was what you should put on your roast potatoes this year.

Some people had built shopping trolley barricades and had completely sealed off both the cheese and baking areas. We did our best and threw everything we could find into our trolley while Jackson kept an eye out for trolley pinchers – these are the people who spot something in your trolley that they have forgotten and grab it from you.

Lined up down an aisle in a long queue to get to the tills, I heard a very horsey woman ahead of me explode with rage as she turned to an ex-military looking type next to her, resplendent in mustard cords and vivid pink shirt: "This is unbearable. It's complete chaos." The military man nodded solemnly and then replied: "I know, I know, but it could be worse. We could be in Tesco."

The lady calmed down as did all the rest of us. We might all be very stressed and bankrupt and in a queue with no end but at least we weren't in Tesco, or, God forbid, Aldi.

Unbelievably, our plans then got even more crazy. Stacey had decided that we must all drive up to London to take the kids to see the Christmas lights. Stacey loves Christmas and does a fantastic job organising it all, but this really was one step too far. I tried to refuse but resistance was futile and I, along with the kids, was forced into the car and off we went. It took us an hour and a half to get to the West End and another two hours before we found somewhere to park.

The kids were going mental but we frog-marched them off to see the lights with the promise of a visit to Hamleys. Nobody I know in London ever goes to see the lights, they don't even go to the West End. Why would you? It's horrible. I lived in London for 20 years and never saw the lights. Now, here I was, a country bumpkin doing the tourist thing and feeling like a plonker.

It was three in the afternoon and the lights weren't even on. We went to Hamleys instead – big mistake. The crash barriers outside should have been a clue. There were badly dressed elves trying to direct the flow of human traffic. It was like Venice in high summer. We were squashed chav to chav as we were carried around the store by a crazed mob. I found the dinosaur section, where several stressed dads had taken refuge with their sons. I ducked in with Jackson and he spotted a pterodactyl – he loves pterodactyls. We picked it up and it was job done for him.

Parker, however, was after a Build-a-Bear. This is a very expensive teddy bear that you construct yourself – you put a heart in it, record a message for it to say when squeezed, then you fill it with stuffing and choose an outfit. For all this work you'd assume you'd pay less, as they've cut out the Chinese labourer from the process, but oh no, Christmas logic dictates that you must pay more. The bear was eventually tracked down, and we fought our way to the tills using swords nabbed from the pirate department.

It could have been worse I suppose; we could have been lying on a beach in the Maldives....

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
An Indian bookseller waits for customers at a roadside stall on World Book and Copyright Day in Mumbai  

Novel translation lets us know what is really happening in the world

Boyd Tonkin
 

Nature Studies: The decline and fall of the nightingale, poetry’s most famous bird

Michael McCarthy
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine