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Badger and the season of goodwill

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AND SO, like a particularly obnoxious curry, December has once again come around to torment poor Badger. This, readers, this is Badger’sbadger84image least favourite time of year: scarred by decades of exposure to Christmas ‘specials’ Badger is afflicted with chronic tinselitis. The very sound of the word ‘merry’, or worse ‘merrie’, is enough to give Badger fond thoughts of emigration to climes where jolliness and holly-ness is a touch less de rigeur. Events this year have compelled Badger to cast his mind back over the years. Along that journey, Badger has tried to try to discover where it is that this seasonal disorder has its origins. And, readers, it has come to Badger that there is no one, single reason why Badger dislikes Christmas so dyspeptically that the merest scent of a Brussels sprout is enough to engender dyspepsia itself. Badger has memories of finding the tangerine wrapped in tissue paper among the games, toys and annuals that made up his presents on Christmas morning.

Those memories are fond and suffused with recollection of the thrill that Christmas brought to his childhood. Badger remembers Christmas cake iced impenetrably with the type of covering they used on space shuttles; mince pies; fruit puddings and turkey dinners that had a half-life of half a week or more. Even those, readers, even those bring Badger pin-sharp and pleasant recollections of his grandfather sitting in a rocking chair in a crowded cottage reading a Louis L’Amour western and smoking a Kensitas cigarette with nary a thought for the fire hazard caused by doing so after a carbohydrate heavy meal. Badger’s misty-eyed reminiscences are shot through with memories of execrable Christmas television. Dick Emery. Dickbloody- Emery. The great Clive James, it was, who described dear old Dick as “the man of a thousand faces, all of them the same”.

You can’t improve on that type of criticism. Badger isn’t even going to try. Badger’s childhood was, by and large, the era of three channels on the telly, all of which stuck to the same formula throughout Badger’s childhood. Badger says “by and large” because there was always a strike hovering in the air threatening to take BBC or ITV off the air over Xmas. BBC had Billy Smart’s Circus, ITV had Chipperfield’s Circus; there was Val Doonican, Cilla Black, and Peters and Lee. And these shows had viewers not in the millions, but in the tens of millions – although the nature of sampling as it was then meant that these figures were extrapolated from data provided by those taking part in a survey limited to those watching television. Badger can tell you with confidence, readers, that when people say the past was a time when they made their own entertainment, a glance at television schedules from Badger’s childhood will tell you why that was the case.

Crooners and carols and King’s College, Cambridge: these are not a few of Badger’s favourite things. But even the recollection of Dick van Dyke in Chitty-Chitty Bang- Bang, does not explain Badger’s disinclination to join in festive fun. So having discounted appalling television, indigestible food and tangerines in tissue paper, Badger decided to press on with his inquiry to get to the bottom of his end of year malaise. He peeled off the layers of the years like wrapping paper, trying to get to the issue’s kernel without losing the Sellotape that holds his Christmas reminiscences in place. The more he looked, the less he knew.

There were memorably awful Christmas presents: crimes against knitting and crochet that cannot easily be forgiven; the cigarette lighter that damned near cost Badger his eyebrows; thoughtless socks; and games of such stupefying tedium that – even now – when Badger sees a Monopoly Board he can’t wait to find someone wearing a monocle and top hat to beat over the head with one. Badger thought about religion, the root cause of Christmas. Now, readers, Badger has views on religion. Please feel free to worship how and what or whom you want, readers. Badger would rather believe in humanity (in the general, not in the particular: after all, readers, who would willingly believe in Noel Edmonds?).

But no, readers: all that holly and ivy, those little donkeys and the shepherds who washed their socks by night; Badger refuses to judge how he felt about them then by the standards of his adulthood. Neither is Badger going to jump on the bandwagon that blames consumerism and greed for why Christmas is no longer as ‘special’ as it used to be. There was less choice in the gifts Father Christmas would deliver to girls and boys when Badger was a boy, but he does not believe that children now are any more acquisitive and grasping than they were when he was young. It is only that there is a greater range of opportunity than was afforded by the Co-op, WH Smiths and Woolworths. Space-Hoppers or I-Pads: these are symptoms, not causes. And not one of these things, not a one, readers, can Badger say led him to regard Christmas with a jaundiced eye and bitter chuckle. Finally Badger decided that he was looking at the question the wrong way.

What if it was not Christmas that had changed, but Badger? And, if so, what had changed? Looking at the problem that way: Badger came to think that it could be the loss of childhood innocence that has led him to his current predicament. Was there some existential dread at his own mortality or sense of loss to which Badger could ascribe Yuletide ennui. But that, readers, is far too trite and easy. It is the kind of thing a priest or game show host might say in patronising tones to bring home just how magical Christmas is for children. That, readers, would be a cop out.

Then it came to him, readers! In a moment of perfect clarity it came to Badger that the reason he disliked Christmas was because while Badger can be persuaded he will not be compelled. It is the forced jollity to which Badger objects. Badger does not want to be told “smile, it’s Christmas.” Badger would rather find his own reasons to be cheerful, and not just for one season but for all seasons. Goodwill for one season and greed, gluttony and bigotry for the rest? Is that what we want? In Badger’s view either all seasons – all days – are special, or none are. Despite everything, Badger is optimistic about humanity (with the caveat above) and will opt for the former every time. So, this season of goodwill, readers, Badger wishes that you are all at least as happy and no less filled with goodwill towards humankind as you are the rest of the year. Or vice versa, just in case.

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A40 closed at Scleddau due to collision between car and motorbike

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EMERGENCY SERVICES have shut the A40 at in Scleddau due to a serious road collision.

The accident happened just before 2pm. The Herald understands that the collision involved a motorcycle and car at a junction near The Gate Inn public house.

Police said: “Emergency services are currently on scene and dealing with the incident. Please find an alternative route if possible. Update to follow.”

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Moley’s Ambassador March to support those who have lost a child

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ON SATURDAY (Jun 19), Andrew Cole (aka Moley) will set off on a 24 hour walk around Pembrokeshire with the aim of doing as many miles in as little time as possible. 

Moley is proud to have recently been made ambassador of the charity ‘2 Wish UponAa Star’ an organisation dedicated to supporting families that have lost a child under 25 years of age.

He will be setting off at 6am in the morning from Neyland and walking all day and night, finishing at 6am the following morning.

2 wish upon a star was set up by Rhian Mannings, who set up the charity after losing her own son.

By celebrating the lives of those lost, and offering support to families through their grief; Rhian and her team offer an essential service to the community and those families who have suffered the devastation of losing a loved one.

Appealing for support from the people of Pembrokeshire he said: “Please give generously to support the wonderful work of Rhian and her team. Also, if you happen to see me in the day, feel free to give me a beep of encouragement’

“If you would like to donate to Moley, and support the charity, you can visit his JustGiving page.”

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/moleycole

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Lifeboats and chopper in major air sea rescue off the coast of Tenby

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TWO RNLI lifeboats from both Tenby and Angle stations have been launched to assist a coastguard helicopter which has been scrambled from MOD St Athen.

It is understood that a search for a missing person or persons is underway.

Paged this morning: Angle Lifeboat is currently involved in the search south of Tenby

The alarm was raised before 10am this morning (June 18).

Tenby’s Y-boat is also involved in the operation, The Herald understands.

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Rescue underway: Coastguard chopper position at 1030HRS on Friday, Jun 18 (Pic MarineTraffic)
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