Thank the guest of honour
(For gods sake Vivien find out what the bloody hell his name is before you sit down for dinner!!)Say how interesting his speech was etc etc
Do you believe in Father Christmas?
(Someone is bound to say yes so adlib say your weren’t supposed to say that, there’s always one isn’t there? Well you believe if you want to it’s a
nice thing to believe in. Just like when George Osbourne says…. Go back to speech)
No of course you don’t, but it would be a nice thing to believe in. Do you believe George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he says that his measures of austerity will solve the country’s financial debt problems? Well, we would all like to believe that. Do you believe that we can slow down Global warming? We would all like to believe that too. But the fact is that we just don’t know. We live in an unsure world. When you think about it, we live on a tiny planet 93 million miles from the Sun. Nobody even knows how large the universe is; let alone how it was created. But one thing is sure; humankind has always needed some kind of celebration. The pagans celebrated, “The birthday of the sun” around the 25th December and when the Romans arrived in Britain they brought their festival Saturnalia that lasted from then 17th to 23rd December. The Christian church was astute enough to know that rather than fight beloved pagan customs it was better to accept them and subtly transform them. And so Christmas became the Winter Festival.
Just like our ancestors, we need a celebration to provide us with fun, joy and to take our minds off the problems of everyday life. And we do have fun with parties, balloons, Christmas Trees, Christmas crackers, sparkling lights, plenty of food and drink, and gifts. It’s also a time when with all the organising life can sometimes be confusing. Have you seen the Nutcrackers? I can’t remember where I put them. Did you remember to send a card to Great Aunt Agatha? But I hope none of you were as confused as Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska, the other day. She telephoned the Senate, and said, “Can I speak to Senator Feinstein”, the person on the other end of the telephone said, “Its Yom Kippur” and she replied, “Well Yom, can you take a message for me?”
Christmas can also be a worrying time. “Is the Capon or Turkey going to be big enough?” “ Will he like the present I bought Him?” But these worries are nothing compared to the story of the poor blonde flying in a two-seater airplane with just the pilot. He has a heart attack and dies. She frantically calls a May Day. “May Day! May Day! Help me! Help me! My pilot has just had a heart attack and is dead. And I don’t know how to fly help me! Please help me! All of a sudden she hears a voice over the radio saying, “This is the tower, I have just received your message and I will talk you through it. I’ve had a lot of experience with this kind of problem. Now, just relax. Everything will be fine. Now give me your height and position.” She says “I’m 5ft 4 and I’m in the front seat.”
“O.K.” says the voice from the tower. Repeat after me:”Our Father, who art in heaven…”
Another aspect of Christmas is that it is party time, just like the celebration here tonight. But one thing about this venue is that there are toilets. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but Brighton and Hove have closed down practically all the public conveniences in the town. They are now flower shops, like “At your convenience” or snack bars and you just can’t find a toilet when you need one. Like the two girls, Sue and Lucy who had gone out to a Christmas gathering and were walking home. Sue said to Lucy “I’m bustin’” “So am I” her friend replied “Oh no, what are we going to do there are no toilets around here? “Its Ok, look there’s a churchyard over there. We can just nip in and have a wee behind one of the gravestones. No-one will see us”. So the two friends crept into the dark graveyard and relieved themselves. “Have you got any tissues?” Sue whispered. Lucy whispered back, “No, I’m just going to use my knickers and throw them away. “I can’t do that I’m wearing my best silk cami-knickers, oh wait there’s a wreath here I’ll just use that. Sue and Lucy, happy that they had seen to their immediate needs set off for home.
A few days later their husbands met in the local Pub for a drink. “Here I don’t know what the girls were up to the other night, my wife came home with no knickers on.” The other replies, “Well, you should worry, I found a card in my wife’s silk cami-knickers which said, “We’ll never forget you from all the lads at the Fire Station.”
Finally, especially at Christmas we should all be careful of how much we drink as it can affect how we are perceived. Like the two old boys at the bar where one slurs into the others ear, “See that picture of those two old soaks? That could be us in 10 years.” “You silly old fool” says the other “that’s a mirror.”
Well. In spite of all the hustle and bustle of Christmas it takes our mind off the problems of the world and we focus on our families and loved ones. It is a time for giving, laughter, for celebrating and having fun with all the people we hold most dear. I wish you all a happy Christmas and I hope that all of you enjoy the holiday and have a wonderful time. Merry Christmas to all of you! Please raise you glasses to our guest speaker (Hope to hell Vivien that you haven’t forgotten his name after giving the stress of giving the speech!) and his wife and to HMS Sussex,