David Brider (davidbrider) wrote,
David Brider
davidbrider

The alternative twelve days of Christmas...

Because you can't have enough of a good thing (I've posted this every Christmas in various places since I've had an email address and a webpage. Don't see why this year should be any different. I originally got it from an old Reader's Digest; hoping one day I'll dig it up and be able to re-scan the accompanying pictures...)

My True Love Sent to Me...

By Keith Waterhouse


  • On the First Day of Christmas my true love sent to me a partridge in a pear tree. Unfortunately it was dispatched via British Rail's parcels service so it never arrived.

  • On the Second Day of Christmas my true love tried to send me two turtle doves, but the shop had sold out. "There was a pre-Budget run on turtle doves," the shopkeeper explained. "People were stocking up on them in case the VAT went up." My true love also sent me a second partridge in a pear tree, but it was delivered to the wrong address.

  • On the Third Day of Christmas my true love wanted to send me three French hens. But, under the EEC regulations, there is no longer any such thing as a French hen. My true love could have sent me three Common Market hens, plucked and frozen.

    However, my true love did send me a further partridge in a pear tree and two second-hand turtle doves, but the express delivery service had all their drivers off ill, so they are still in the warehouse.

  • On the Fourth Day of Christmas my true love sent to me four colly birds (blackbirds). The Post Office returned them with a note saying that the only living creatures that may be sent by post are bees, leeches and silkworms. The PO also returned a partridge in a pear tree, two second-hand turtle doves and three frozen Common Market hens on the grounds that they were a prohibited embarrassing packet.

  • On the Fifth Day of Christmas my true love sent to me five gold rings. They were confiscated by the Treasury, who warned that gold hoarding was illegal.

    My true love also sent to me a partridge in a pear tree, two second-hand turtle doves, three frozen Common Market hens and four bees, but the bees stung the messenger boy and he has not been seen since.

  • On the Sixth Day of Christmas my true love sent to me six geese a-laying which are now at the RSPCA Refuge for Pregnant Geese. "We take a serious view of this case," an inspector said. "All these poor geese had to sustain them on their nightmare journey was a bowl of water and some pears, which they had to share with a partridge, two second-hand turtle doves, three frozen Common Market hens and four bees. Also, one of the geese swallowed five brass rings and may have to be operated on."

  • On the Seventh Day of Christmas my true love sent to me seven swans-a-swimming. They were swiftly followed by a stiff letter, signed "Elizabeth R," warning that if the Royal Swans were not returned smartish, someone's true love would be spending Christmas in the Tower.

    My true love also sent to me another partridge in a pear tree, two second-hand turtle doves, three frozen Common Market hens, four bees, five brass rings and six neutered geese with adequate rations, but the postman got mugged.

  • On the Eighth Day of Christmas my true love thought of sending to me eight maids-a-milking. But my true love was not allowed to advertise for milkmaids in the Sits Vac column, as it would have been an infringement of the Sex Discrimination Act. My true love did send to me, though, a partridge in a pear tree, two second-hand turtle doves, three frozen Common Market hens, four bees, five brass rings, six neutered geese and seven ducks-a-swimming. They were suspected of being a parcel bomb and blown up.

  • On the Ninth Day of Christmas my true love sent to me nine ladies dancing. The whole pack of them were arrested under the Street Offences Act. My true love also sent to me a partridge in a pear tree, two second-hand turtle doves, three frozen Common Market hens, four bees, five brass rings, six neutered geese, seven ducks-a-swimming and eight persons milking. On their way to my house by van, the eight persons milking were attacked by the six neutered geese, the partridge went berserk, the pear tree toppled on the driver's head and all involved are now in hospital.

  • On the Tenth Day of Christmas my true love sent to me ten lords-a-leaping. But just as they came a-leaping up the front steps, they were called back to the House of Lords for an emergency vote. On the same day my true love sent to me yet another partridge in a pear tree, two more second-hand turtle doves, three frozen Common Market hens, four bees, five brass rings, six neutered geese, seven ducks-a-swimming, eight persons milking and nine ladies knitting scarves. A council social worker promptly put them all in a luxury hotel until a suitable hostel could be found for them.

  • On the Eleventh Day of Christmas my true love wanted to send to me eleven pipers piping, but they refused to come. They still had not recovered from Hogmanay they said and had no wish to take part in childish songs. So all I got from my true love was a partridge in a pear tree, two second-hand turtle doves, three frozen Common Market hens, four bees, five brass rings, six neutered geese, seven ducks-a-swimming, eight persons milking, nine ladies knitting scarves and ten OBEs-a-leaping. They found where I had hidden the booze and by midnight the police had to be called.

  • And, on the Twelfth Day of Christmas, my true love emigrated.


Condensed from "Rhubarb, Rhubarb and other noises," © 1979 Keith Waterhouse, published by Michael Joseph Limited. Published in this form in Reader's Digest, December 1979. Illustrations by Michael Ffolkes.

David.
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