My salad dressing days

Deck the halls! Slash the car tyres!
December 22, 2005, 12:46 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Ding dong went our doorbell last night at 8pm (actually, it was ‘thud thud’, palm on wood, ’cause I keep forgetting to plug the doorbell in).

A burly (read: overweight) teenage lad and two embarrassed-looking girls launched into ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’.

‘Stop!’ said Mr Chick. ‘You were here on Monday night!’

Background note: two lots of ‘carol singers’ graced our doorstep on Monday night. The first lot (see above) rushed through ‘We wish you…’ and when asked by Mr Chick what they were collecting for (i.e. which charity), they said ‘tips’, so we said: uh-uh. Charity: yes, ‘tips’: no.

The second lot consisted of another boy-girl-girl grouping, this time aged around nine or ten. Bizarrely, again, the boy was busting out of his oversized anorak. Again, a rush through ‘We wish you…’ and then we had a ten-second stare-off. I was waiting for them to say which charity they were collecting for and they were just waiting, looking mildly panicked.

Breaking the uncomfortable silence after I had asked what they wanted, the boy blurted out ‘sweets!’. The girls furrowed their brows and shuffled around.

‘No, which charity?’

Confusion broke out on their faces and the girls turned to look at their parents who were standing on the street, smoking.

‘Dad, what charity is it for?’

[dragging heavily on fag] ‘Children!’

‘What children?’ I inquired.

‘Daaaaaaaaaaaaaad? What children?’

‘Children in Need!’ he yelled back.

‘Children in Need’, she added, as if I hadn’t heard.

Totally unconvinced but desperate to get them and their parents off my doorstep lest they slash my car tyres, I handed the most responsible-looking girl three ten pence coins. The boy huffed and muttered some profanity as he waddled away.

But anyway, back to last night. The boy replied to Mr Chick:

‘No, I wasn’t! I was in Spain!’

Top marks for the most exotic excuse. Why not: I was at home watching telly. Or that old classic: it must have been my identical twin brother.

‘Bullshit!’ laughed Mr Chick.

‘Don’t fucking swear at me!’ replied the boy, indignant.

Oooh, the irony.

‘I didn’t know ‘bullshit’ was a swear word!’ responded Mr Chick.

Hovering in the background in my jimjams, I was thinking: I think ‘bullshit’ might be regarded by some as a swear word but I figured that it might not be helpful to point this out, so I kept schtum.

After a few ‘oh yes it is’ and ‘oh no it isn’ts’, Mr Chick slowly pushed the door shut, whilst the boy looked down at our [insert name of major car manufacturer] estate and muttered menacingly ‘Is that your car?’.

Welcome to Yuletide in south London! ‘Tis the season to be jolly!

[North Londoners, this is no time to gloat and make me regret our decision to move south of the river all those moons ago, you hear me?]

P.S. The local police are recommending the following course of action:

“Please remember that anyone (but usually children) who rings your doorbell or knocks and then starts singing carols, but have no official charity collection box or permit, are simply begging.”

“Begging by children under 16 is an offence under Section 4 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933. Anyone can detain such children and then you can call the police.”

That’s right. We should make a citizen’s arrest, detain them in our living room (so they can really case the joint) and then call the police. Super!


16 Comments so far
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You just ruined the image I have of rosy-cheeked, smiling carolers who are simply doing it to spread Christmas joy and are then invited into the house for some hot chocolate and figgy pudding (whatever that is). πŸ™‚

Comment by Jenny G

ah now, those would be north london carol singers

the car-slashing, profanity-uttering types are only to be found in crime-ridden, swampy south london

p.s. the last thing those boys needed was feeding up with figgy pudding, believe you me – i did, however, consider offering them a satsuma

Comment by Urban Chick

UC – if that ain’t bad enough, do you also live in that part of London where some cold hearted dipshit stole the baby penguin?
Sorry, terribly off subject but if anyone would be in the know about this, it would be you. πŸ™‚
ps – I just heard it on our news here in the US.

Comment by Anonymous

That penguin seems to have been stolen from a zoo on the Isle Of Wight, so for once south Londoners can’t be blamed.

I’ll have to watch out for the new, hard breed of carol singer – actually I haven’t seen any carol singers for years but I suppose it’s another way to menace adults which must be very appealing to the little oafs.

Should they turn up, I won’t answer the door. The only other way to deal with it is to buy a “shooter” from a “geezer” “dahn the pub”. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Comment by Betty

that is just awful! yikes. I can’t imagine having to put up with ‘begging’ carolers then argue the finer points of swearing with them. Thank god for the 6 foot gate across my driveway and the fact that you can’t walk to my house from town without dying of hypothermia!!


Comment by Kyahgirl

Sniggers in a north London sort of way. I imagine it’s just as bad round here but I never answer the door. For anyone, unless they’ve rung first to make an appointment and have at least five pieces of ID, a recommendation of good character from a local vicar and they are prepared to be subjected to a thorough frisking.

Comment by GreatSheElephant

heh, heh GSE, some people will do ANYTHING to cop a feel!

Comment by Kyahgirl

of a delinquent 10 year old? I think not!

Comment by GreatSheElephant

This is kind of Dickensian, isn’t it. I mean, vaguely. I mean, in a non-tyre slashing sort of way. hm. And I thought we in the US had this market cornered (adolescent scams — although the adult trailing along with them is a bit icky). hm. And I’m glad you were thinking of giving them fruit. You can bet their diets aren’t balanced. xoxo

Comment by mireille

My burly male cousins only operate in Essex, so I knew it wasn’t one of them that menaced you, but between them they got Β£45 last week for carol singing.

I can only assume that it was through threatening behaviour, because even the 11 year old couldn’t be classed as angelic. In fact, he actually bears a passing resemblance to Pugsley Addams*, which I’m hoping he’ll grow out of.

*Which obviously comes from his mother’s side of the family.

Comment by Kellycat

It’s a long walk from our row of eight houses to anywhere else.
Last time we had carol singers it was our 3, + 2 from next door but one, + 3 from the other end.
We thought it was a bit much getting your own parents to contribute but they pointed out that we weren’t the parents of the other five. And that all 8 of them needed chocolate from the secret christmas hoard. and that next door but one had given them Β£5 and coca cola.
Masterly defeat of parents. Invasion of house followed by decimation of chocolates!

Comment by mig bardsley

“I can understand where the police are coming from with the vulnerable and the elderly but it does seem a sledgehammer to crack a nut to suggest making a citizen’s arrest,” said the Rev Elaine Cranmer, of St Luke’s church, Eltham.,16848,1673244,00.html

Comment by sbs

that’s story/0,16848,1673244,00.html

Comment by sbs

Wait – the carolers collect money??? Ours just come inside for a warm drink, often made warmer by a bit of whiskey.

I do hope that this does not catch on in America. The hoodlums in my neighborhood would definitely take advantage.

Comment by Whinger

ha ha ha – CHILDREN IN NEED! πŸ™‚

Comment by Justine

An effective confounding device is to sing back. These people were an absolute curse when I lived in Finchley. You could get pissed on the secondhand booze fumes emanating from most of em.

Comment by Dave F

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