Yesterday I saw a wannabe Santa.
I regarded him with suspicious eyes as I stared at his six-pack stomach, and a-tad-too-well-trimmed beard. Where was the portly belly and the misshapen shock of hair on the chin? This one looked like he had stepped out of the pages of a GQ Sexy Santa of the Year or something.
Not that I have been paying particular attention to the many Father Christmas types this season flings on our visual peripheries in the run-up to Christmas. But, after spending most of yesterday bantering with practically every person I met, and asking them to tell me one thing they'd like for Christmas, I'd been on the lookout. Initially, it was a combination of a generally quiet day at work, and the dulling after-effects of consuming a meal of epic proportions that started this little project. (I asked for just a lasagne, but the waitress set a huge plate including a pile of fries and a side salad in front of me, smiling, 'It's Christmas! Eat up!', and I reasoned, 'Well..now that it's here...').
It meant that by the time I rolled back to work, all thoughts of productivity had flown out the window and I was uncertain about its estimated time of return, especially on the last working day before the Christmas weekend. So I took a sheet of paper instead, and wrote in bold, flowery letters: '25 things Londoners want this Christmas'. Some friends, the rest members of the public, I present here in their own words, a Christmas wish-list from the Londoners I do life with.
1. Emma - A warm dressing gown
2. Diddy (friend) - An all-expenses paid, 7-day, 5-star holiday in Barbados
3. Jan - A new laptop
4. Has (friend) - An iPad (and a wife)
5. Martin (friend) - To go around the world on my bike. You coming along, Miss Cyclist?
6. Ana-Maria - A good job in music PR
7. Anca - Good health
8. Sara - A new swimming costume!
9. Joseph - A Ferrari and a giant lollipop. (Joseph is a cute 9 year old, but you'd probably figured that out by the time you got to lollipop)
10. Elsa - A swimming pool with slides
11. Tess - A big teddy bear
12. Nick - For Leeds to beat Arsenal in the FA Cup (Elsa, 11, and Tess,9, are sisters to Joseph, and Nick is their highly amused father whose wish was immediately quashed by his Arsenal-loving children)
13. Helene - Chocolate biscuits. And - oh please - can I be cheeky and ask for a lover from Mali as well? (Intrigued, I pointed to her ring finger and scolded good-naturedly, 'And what will 'Mr Helene' say to that?!', to which she winked much in the way a character from a Jackie Collins novel would and purred, 'It's all in the poetry of their music!')
14. Gabriel - Headphones
15. Stephen (friend) - Nothing (I can't be sure if this was because I was pestering him for an answer, but there was a definite growl in his voice..)
16. Safit - Good health
17. Zach - For you to put me out of my misery and just say yes to a drink with me
18. Laura - To win the lottery
19. Emily - Eyeliner (I had to smile at this, because, before she'd said this, I was first struck by her beautiful wide-set eyes)
20. Avril - A diary
21. Dean - Trainers
22. David - World peace - and perfect swimming abilities!
23. Fliss - A husband
24. Aaron - To be Mariah Carey's baby daddy
25. Monica (friend) - YOU!
What one thing would you add? Wishing you a merry time filled with love, meaning and a generous outpouring of goodness!