Christmas presence

Hurrah, it is that time of year again. Yes – the annual hand-wringing exchange of emails between me and my brother James about what to get our parents for Christmas.

For example:

James: And our father. What shall purchase for him this year? Golf paraphernalia? Or liquorice?

Me: No. I have better idea. A tattoo on his arm with the web address of internet movie database. So that each time he sees someone he recognises on telly, he can look it up in seconds, instead of saying “Oooh, I know that person. What have they been in?” Which is like clarion call to all Nadins within 100-mile radius to then spend hours in agonising thought to remember which advert that bloke on the left in Little Dorrit was once in.

James: Genius. And also a signed certificate to vouch that it does not constitute cheating.

Me: I will forge one immediately. What about Mum? Apparently she wants to ride in balloon.

James: Hmm. But does Which do a guide to Hot Air Balloon trips? Do not want to pick wrong one and risk eye-rolling and lesson in how to shop sensibly. Remember what happened with the toaster.

Me: You are right (shudders). Elizabeth Shaw mints and a nice book?

James: My thoughts exactly. And you, sister?

Me: A fortnight in New York, a film deal and a monkey.

James: Or maybe a Take That album?

Me: Lovely. And for you? A box of Terry’s All Gold, but only the strawberry ones?

James: Ah. Heaven.

If only…

About Joanna Nadin

A former broadcast journalist and special adviser to the prime minister, since leaving politics I’ve written more than 80 books for children and adults, as well as speeches for politicians, and articles for newspapers and magazines like The Guardian, Red and The Amorist. I also lecture in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and hold a doctorate in young adult literature. I’m a winner of the Fantastic Book Award and the Surrey Book Award, and have been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Booktrust Best Book award and Queen of Teen among others, and twice nominated for the Carnegie Medal, for Everybody Hurts, and for Joe All Alone, which is now a BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated BBC TV series. I've also worked with Sir Chris Hoy on the Flying Fergus series and ghost-written Angry Birds under another name. I like London, New York, Essex, tea, cake, Marmite, mint imperials, prom dresses, pubs, that bit in the West Wing where Donna tells Josh she wouldn’t stop for a red light if he was in an accident, junk shops, crisps, Cornwall, St Custard’s, Portuguese custard tarts, political geeks, pin-up swimsuits, the Regency, high heels, horses, old songs, my Grandma’s fur coat, vinyl, liner notes, the smell of old books, the feel of a velveteen monkey, Guinness, quiffs, putting my hand in a bin of chicken feed, the 1950s, burlesque, automata, fiddles, flaneuring, gigs in fields on warm summer nights, Bath, the bath.
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