Columnist Jimmy Cricket writes about his festive trip to Bruge, which had its ups and downs.
Yes Readers, it’s me, Jimmy Cricket, with my first column of 2019.
I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year and you didn’t lose any sleep over Brexit.
Speaking of which, I went to one Christmas party and we did the Brexit Hokey Cokey – it was in, out... and we didn’t know what to do after that.
And there’s more. I did hear one story about Christmas morning that a friend told me – his seven-year-old was opening his presents when suddenly he shouts across the living room floor: “Dad, I think Santa Claus has moved house.”
My somewhat surprised pal says: “What makes you think that son?”
“Because,” says the boy, “It says on this toy. Made in China.”
As I didn’t have a panto, I was able to have a more restful festive season.
In fact, Mrs Cricket and I were able to have a two-day break in Bruges.
Christmas in Bruges is delightful. The fairy lights and decorations that surround the market have a unique style, especially when lit up at night. You have to make sure you have your thermals on because it can be a bit nippy. Of course, there’s always a nice restaurant nearby ready to fortify you with a hot chocolate.
In the daytime you can stroll over bridges with flowing rivers for company and drink in the gorgeous Belgian architecture.
Local inhabitants love their bicycles, and you can see folk of all ages cycling along their merry way.
The only downside was actually getting over there. We flew with a low cost airline that shall be nameless.
All right, here’s a clue.
The name begins and ends with R. Of course, it was cheap. But that was the only positive thing it had going for it. Although we were lured into going Priority, it didn’t stop the security guys rifling relentlessly through our cabin luggage. Saying a tearful good bye to your shaving foam at 4.30am in the morning at Manchester Airport isn’t the most pleasant of starts to a holiday.
Although I did get to keep the aftershave lotion, but it was a close shave.
We didn’t really strike it lucky with the hotel, either. Two lights weren’t working in the bedroom.
A wheel was missing from the bottom of the bed.
The kettle in the room wasn’t working.
Just when you think it can’t get any worse it did. The toilet was blocked.
The next morning, armed with an extensive list of repairs, we headed downstairs.
The young lady at reception, who spoke impeccable English, apologised profusely and later that afternoon we were moved to a breathtakingly beautiful suite and we were able to
enjoy the rest of our holiday in decadent opulence.
The most emotional part of our holiday was a visit to Flanders, and the Menin Gate in particular.
There every evening at 8pm four young soldiers play the last post.
It did my heart good to see so many people had gathered round with lots of schoolchildren and their teachers.
Each evening there are forces representatives from around the world, and on this night in particular there were high-ranking officers from both the Australian and New Zealand Armies.
How proud we all were to be there paying our respects to the young men and women who fought and died for our freedom.
As the Australian Major so aptly put it when he quoted a line from a famous poem; “They gave all their todays for our tomorrows”.
A NOTE IN THE DIARY
Regular readers will remember I premiered my new play in 2018 about a comedy double act called No More Fiffing and Faffing. Well, the good news is we’re taking it on the road and we’re coming to a theatre near you.
Yes, on Saturday, May 19 we’ll be at the Chorley Little Theatre.
As it’s suitable for all ages, there’ll be a matinee at 2.30pm and a 7.30pm performance in the evening. If you’d like to book early and get good seats, you can contact www.chorleylittletheatre.com or Malcolm’s Musicland on 01257 264 362
Look forward to hooking up with you again next month.