More icy pictures of Lichfield for you. Jackie Frost has been at his work, as my older son used to observe in a broad Geordie accent when he was three. He was not a precocious mimic, we were living in Gateshead at that stage. My younger son was born there, and him I couldn’t understand at all. ‘Haway, Mam, draw us a wheel!’ ‘Certainly. A car wheel, a tractor wheel?’ ‘Nooah. A killer wheel!’ And then we moved to Walsall, and they promptly switched to Black Country, coming home from school and telling me they'd been learning about the Voikings.
One nice thing about being married to a priest, apart from moving house a lot and learning many interesting dialects, is that you never have to buy a new jiffy bag. Priests get sent things in padded envelopes all the time. Bible commentaries, mainly. Or perhaps this is a certain sub category of Evangelical priests, who have a Bible commentary habit as bad as many a woman’s shoe habit. I personally do not have a shoe habit. Well, I do. I have the habit of thinking you should be able to buy yourself a nice pair of leather boots for under £25. Which you can—if you skulk about in charity shops. You can also get cheap Bible commentaries in charity shops. Thus the chancellor and I while away many hours in run down town centres on his day off.
Another nice thing about being married to a priest is that you get a house with the job. The heating bills are not so nice, of course. You also get a lot of Christmas cards. These may be displayed in colour groups (white and gold, reds, greens, blues) or by theme (robins, Christmas trees, shepherds, drunken Franciscans—not Wise men, of course, as these may not be properly displayed until Epiphany) and hung in your draughty hallway, where they will flutter and amusingly set off your burglar alarm at 3am.
You may also be lucky enough to get a fat envelope, and you will open it with feverish excitement because it can mean only one thing—someone has sent you a Christmas boasting letter about their children’s amazing A-level results (which they were really surprised about, because s/he didn’t do a stroke of work!!!!) their Grade VIII on the bassoon and starring roles in school productions. There may be photos of various holidays abroad and updates on extensive renovations to their 17th century property (including letting information). Occasionally they commend to you the real meaning of Christmas. At which point (if you are lucky enough to be married to a priest) you will grind your teeth and think I know what the true meaning of fecking Christmas is.
Still, at least I can send my Christmas parcels in recycled jiffy bags. That’s worth hanging on to, isn’t it?