Hook in the west
Christmas is coming, I intend on getting fat.
Please put a pudding in my old man’s hat.
If you haven’t got a pudding, a mince pie will do,
If you haven’t got a mince pie, God bless you.
The festive season is fast approaching and most of the next three weeks will be spent wining and dining in the traditional run-up to Christmas. I enjoy this time of year immensely, as I generally get to eat what I like, without the usual queue of busy-bodies lining up to judge me for my over-indulgences. Ingrid, if you’re reading this, that means you, too!
One of the great things about the build-up to Christmas is the delicious range of food that comes with it. I never eat turkey and ham outside of December, but during the twelfth month of the year, I pig out on enough turkey dinners to last me through to the following Christmas.
I was advised earlier this year to lose some weight, so I have been steadily shedding the pounds by reducing my calorie intake, but during December, all bets are off. Mince pies, plum pudding, trifle, biscuits, cakes, chocolates... You name it, I eat it. And I don’t regret a single mouthful.
I feel sorry for the new wave of “foodies” that limit themselves to a couple of Tic-Tacs and a glass of water, just so they can look wafer-thin for the festive season. Christmas is a time for letting out the belt and embracing the fat, just as Santa would have wanted. Speaking of Himself, I wonder if he got my letter this year? I managed to post it in plenty of time, so I can only presume it made it safely to Santa’s grotto in the North Pole. If it were up to the lovely Ingrid, I’d get nothing but lumps of coal in my stocking this year. Hopefully Santa comes through for me. I certainly gave him plenty of options in my letter....
George Hook here, how are you? I know, I know... It’s been a while since I last wrote. About 65 years, or there about? Anyway, I hope you don’t mind me rekindling our friendship at this late stage, but I was wondering if you might be able to help an old man out with his Christmas wish-list.
I suppose I have been reasonably well-behaved of late. My retirement from the telly means I don’t get the opportunity to upset nearly as many rugby fans as I once did. Bar the odd pop at Ireland coach Joe Schmidt and an ill-advised decision to threaten to sue Jonny Sexton, I’ve generally kept my powder dry. (I did apologise for the Sexton thing FYI, but I’m sure you know that already).
I’m not saying that I have been the perfect role model or anything like it; old age has made me less tolerant of stupidity and I still tend to sulk if I don’t get my own way at home. But apart from that, I think I’ve been reasonably well behaved. In any case, best not to ask Ingrid. She seems to notice only the bad stuff these days.
Should you concur with my good behaviour and see fit to include me on your Christmas round this year, here are a few things I would very much enjoy:
A Self-Driving Car. I appreciate this is a big ask, but I’m too old to be whizzing up and down to Cork these days. My son lives there, plus I occasionally broadcast from the Newstalk studio in Cork city, so I frequently make the trip up and down on the M8. It would be great if I could just punch in an address and hit ‘drive’ on my motorcar. I don’t particularly care what it looks like, so long as there is room to kick back and stretch my legs. You might consider gifting said cars to people that cannot park, too? Anyone that has ever ignored the white lines and parked across two parking spots, for no good reason, should be considered. Also, people that sit in the over-taking lane on a motorway and refuse to budge? Is there anything more ignorant? While we’re on this, you might want to invest in a bigger sleigh..
A Self-Cycling Bicycle. Not for me, of course, but I would be very grateful if you could instruct your elves to get cracking on this invention. There are too many idiots cycling around Irish roads these days, showing complete disregard for other users. Quite frankly, they are a menace to society. Some people think putting on a helmet and wearing ridiculous-looking Lycra is a license to do whatever the hell they like on a bicycle. If your elves could come up with a bike that automatically stops at a red traffic light and obeys the rules of the road, it would make all of our lives easier. Either that, or just take bicycles out of commission altogether?
A Giant Net. I’m talking about a net big enough, so that I can round up all these self-styled foodie nuts and take them off to a far-away island. There, they can live on nuts and leaves and twigs to their hearts content, without annoying the rest of us. You, Santa, more than anyone, must appreciate what I’m talking about? It seems that every eejit is releasing a cook-book, diet fad, or self-help manual these days and I have had enough of it. There is nothing ‘super’ about ‘super foods’. I could spend the rest of my days shoving as much kale down my throat as I could get my hands on and it wouldn’t make the slightest difference to my well-being. ‘Eat yourself beautiful’, ‘Happy pear yourself thin’, ‘Think yourself lovely’... Ireland is officially losing the plot and I want all these veggie, nincompoops rounded up and cast away as soon as possible.
A Repeal of the Eighth Amendment. Self explanatory, really. Perhaps you could instil some guts into our government ministers to tackle this issue before another group of nervous, frightened women are forced to leave the country under a shadow of shame. I cannot imagine how terrifying and heart-breaking it must be to be diagnosed with an unviable pregnancy. The present government’s refusal to deal with this issue is cowardly and inhumane.
More Hospital Beds/Shorter Waiting Lists. One leads to another. The story this week of a 103 year old woman being left on a trolley for 15 hours is shocking and disgraceful. You might drop Minister Harris a note on your way through Wicklow on Christmas Eve.
Sam Maguire for Mayo. Haven’t they suffered enough? Isn’t it time you banished this ridiculous curse and gave the people of Mayo something to celebrate? Preferably with Aidan O’Shea scoring the winning goal against Dublin in the final...During the last minute of injury time...In a replay.
A Surprise. I’ll leave this one to you.
You still taking the bottle of stout and cookie on your rounds? We’re more of a Sauvignon Blanc type of household these days, but I’ll see what I can do.