Yes, it's that time of year again: November 30th, when my sister and I would make an advent calendar for our parents. I don't know exactly how old we were when we made this one, but we did it for several years, and I still have two of them. We signed our work, so this is probably the last one that we did together, as the other one (which I will do next year, unless someone manages to stop me) only has my initials on it. I have redacted our signatures to protect the guilty, which is a shame, as mine contained both a highly affected arrowhead and a smiley face instead of a dot over an 'i'. How much more fun it would be signing cheques if I still did that.
I vividly remember us getting together every November 30th, then getting two pieces of A4, Sellotaping them together, and trying to think of what to draw that year. Then the annual problem of trying to think of 25 Christmassy things to go behind the doors, before the fiddly issue of cutting the doors open, drawing in the tiny space, then closing the doors again with tiny pieces of now-yellowing Sellotape. Welcome to the 1970s, when we had to make our own entertainment. It was rubbish. If only we'd had an Xbox.
So let's take a closer look: we've got Father Christmas on board the SS Santa, that well-known form of festive transport, off to deliver the presents, though presumably only to children who lived in coastal communities. Which was odd as we were brought up in the Midlands. Perhaps neither of us could draw reindeer.
And have a look at what is in the crow's nest: a crow! With the words 'crow's nest' and an arrow pointing to it, just in case someone doesn't get the joke. (It is a crow. In a crow's nest. It's like alternative comedy never happened. Or indeed any form of comedy. Also, it's got a yellow beak, so is actually more like a blackbird than a crow.)
We've got an angel and a big star in there too, though Santa is symbolically sailing away from these into more secular waters. There's also a lifebelt, though with only one person on board, it's unclear who could throw this in to save Santa from the shark. Perhaps the elves are all below decks behind the tiny portholes. In which case, it's probably something to do with elf and safety. Ah, how far I've come since those crow's nest days.
We'd take the completed advent calendar and give it to our parents, who would then have to spend the next 25 days working out what the heck we'd drawn inside each of the tiny little doors. Which is what we're going to do, starting tomorrow...