The theme of the staff Christmas party was Stockton-on-Tees. This was possibly in honour of me and EH, although we could not be certain. Whatever the reason, we were well qualified to comment on the town. I joked that we could even sit on the ‘Stockton shelf’ ourselves amongst the other souvenirs of Stockton that our colleagues had accumulated as we reminisced about drama classes at the Dovecot and school visits to Teesside Polytechnic.
The Secret Santa prize draw, however, was not Stockton-themed. I ‘won’ a grotesque plastic pendant. The main ‘crystal’ was a lump of clear plastic the size of a small matchbox. From this hung a ‘jade’ waterfall of green plastic fronds. It was truly hideous.
After the party I gave EH advice on kitchen planning and car purchases. She needed a new oven to cook game for a funeral in Derbyshire, and wanted to replace her ancient brown Range Rover. I suggested that she speak to VJ about kitchen upgrades. As for the car, I remembered that MB was about to offer hers for sale.
‘So long as you’re not recommending that I meet your cousin BB again’, said EH, ‘I will do anything you say’.