Hey kids, listen up. We all love soft play, right? You can run indoors. Really fast. And not get told off. You can climb up stuff, jump down from stuff, and you can be loud. Anything your Mum won't let you do at home, you can do here. So here it is the definitive guide to soft play through the ages.
I won't indulge myself in my own personal problems with the Mass, how the language sounds to my ear a lot like lines Christopher Lee should be spouting whilst dancing around a windswept island in The Wicker Man ('It is right to give Him thanks and praise'), because I'll probably come across exactly as I am. A man who vehemently railed against his indoctrinal upbringing mid-teens when he realised his homosexuality made him, in the Dr Eckleburg eyes of the church, a sinner.
With just a few days until the big day, you may be feeling overwhelmed with everything that still needs to be done; underwhelmed, wondering what all the fuss is about for just one day or even, God forbid, full of Christmas spirit! However you're feeling, you may have an underlying rumbling of anxiety.
I think it's normal to feel a bit weird at this time of year. We build up Christmas to such a fever pitch of twee imagination and rose-tinted memories that it can end up feel disappointing and miserable. Sometimes, surrounded by a barrage of Good Will to All Men and Joy to the World and Christmas Cheer, we feel lost and alone, longing for a feeling we can't find anymore.
My most memorable Christmas was in 1990 - the year my mother had a zillion jobs to ensure she could brilliantly (and believably) keep the facade of Santa alive on her income alone. One of said jobs was being a cleaner, and driving to drop her off at a factory very early each morning, my mum, grandfather, sister and I would count all the Christmas trees zinging cheerfully from living rooms in our town en route.
Christmas is traditionally a time for families to be together. This can heighten emotions, especially loneliness if you are single as the focus is on happy families at this time of year. It can really highlight the fact that you don't have that special someone to share it with and that can be hard to deal with.
I actually think I'm a good parent when I've had a couple of drinks. I laugh more. Loosen up a tad. Let my daughter eat lots of cocktail sausages. I construct creative meals out of buffet foods- piling up her plate with crisps and cake (so she has a good balance of savoury and sweet). And I have fond memories of my own Mum being pissed...