December 23rd High Street Christmas Snapshot

So this is Christmas. And what have you done?

A lot of shopping this morning, discovering in the process one great use for mobile phones. When you're lost in a Christmas crowd and you can't find your companion, you can pull out your mobile and locate them immediately. If they have one hand not laden with shopping bags and are able to answer it. I wonder what they did in the Seventies. Of course, I was around in the Seventies, but as I recall we always spent the 23rd of December at home in those days, lamenting the fact that it wasn't yet December 24th, because that at least was only a day away from Christmas.

Would the crowds in the shops have been so tumultuous then? I don't know. I doubt anything could have equalled the heaving press of humanity I encountered in Northampton this morning. I am normally quite happy to mooch around the shops for an hour or two, but today it really got on my nerves. Every shop I went into had queues at the tills twenty deep. And I couldn't get to anything I wanted to examine because there was somebody in front of it already. How can people spend five full minutes studying the track list on one compact disc I ask you? And why would a big fat bloke block up a whole aisle in W.H.Smith's while he stands and reads a magazine? Does it not occur to him that he's too large for anyone to pass? Can't he sense the person standing just behind him trying to suppress the impulse to push his fat arse out of the way? I can feel someone's eyes on me when they are watching from the other side of the street.

I said to my friend as we pushed and excuse-me'd our way through the herds in the Grosvenor Centre, "Do you think this is what Jesus had in mind when he was dying on the cross?"

It seems unlikely. But there is no stopping this hurtling train now.