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It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

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It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

447 pagine
8 ore
Mar 10, 2021


Robyn Cross was looking forward to Christmas but not anymore. Not after she found out that, her husband cheated on her so she wants to divorce him despite loving the bones of the man, which makes it worse. Only first, they decide that for the sake of everybody they know and love that they will spend one last perfect Christmas together and try to fake it until they make it past not only Christmas but New Year’s too and even beyond their daughter’s birthday. If they can just last that long without giving the game away that is, for this is all for show remember so no forgetting that and falling back into old habits. However, if they do fail then that will surely ruin the festivities altogether for not just them but their family too. Well they are all going on a three-day trip to a Winter Wonderland Hotel Experience, so the atmosphere needs to be warmer than the weather outside since that is cold enough for snow.

Will they succeed and make it a memorable Christmas for all the right reasons? Will they mess up despite being on their best behaviour, when the ex turns up to pour fuel on the fire?

If you are in need of some funny festive fiction to get you laughing through this special season, then pick up this hilarious British novel which contains quite a few swear words so you have been warned. While you can be glad, you’re not the potty mouthed Robyn Cross for actions do have consequences and they’re not always so easy to make good on. As she finds out, but will you?

Mar 10, 2021

Informazioni sull'autore

Maureen Reil writes comic commercial fiction and has had over 35 books published, so far, but she's always working on a new manuscript so she wishes to add to that tally with lots of new titles before she's done and dusted. She was born in the city of Liverpool and resides in semi-rural Lancashire UK, but longs to live by the sea. It was always a dream of hers to become a novelist and thanks to her readers, she has fulfilled that ambition, so she couldn't be more grateful if she tried. And Maureen hopes you enjoying reading her books as much as she enjoys writing them.

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It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas - Maureen Reil




Look A Lot




Maureen Reil

Copyright ©2017 Maureen Reil

This eBook is entirely a work of fiction.

The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.

Maureen Reil asserts the moral right to be, identified as the sole author of this work.

Also by the author Maureen Reil

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I Did Write What I Know

Chick-Lit Saved My Life (Chick-Lit Trilogy book 1)

Chick-Lit Stole My Life (Chick-Lit Trilogy book 2)

Chick-Lit Staged My Life (Chick-Lit Trilogy book 3)

Chick-Lit Collection

Chick-Lit Trilogy

Mistletoe And Wine (Christmas Comedy Trilogy)

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Christmas Comedy Trilogy

Let’s Get Married (Let’s Get Funny Fiction)

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Let’s Get It Started (Let’s Get Funny Fiction)

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The Finch Family Holiday 3 (Comical Vacations)

The Finch Family Holiday 4 (Comical Vacations)

The Finch Family Holiday 5 (Comical Vacations)

The Finch Family Easter Holiday 6 (Comical Vacations)

The Finch Family Bank Holiday 7 (Comical Vacations)

The Finch Family Christmas Holiday 8 (Comical Vacations)

A Granny Is For Life, Not Just Christmas

Let’s Get Funny Fiction 1 (Three-Book Bundle)

Let’s Get Funny Fiction 2 (Three-Book Bundle)

Let’s Get Funny Fiction (Six-Book Box Set)

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Comical Vacations 2 (Three-Book Bundle)

Comical Vacations 3 (Three-Book Bundle)

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Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Maureen Reil’s Latest Novel

Luck Had Nothing To Do With It

Beatrice knows she’s blessed for having something in her world that makes it worth living, like her family and friends. Plus her job gives her a reason to get up in the morning but no matter how hard she works, she still senses that she’ll never truly be secure without owning the roof over her head outright. So that nobody can take it away from her, especially after facing eviction from her rented house, through no fault of her own she might add. Whilst there’s only one way she’s getting the chance of having a new home at the moment to prevent her from being made homeless and that’s by entering a property draw to win one. Then there’s the love life to sort out too, since that’s going nowhere fast. Will she get lucky enough to become a winner, or will she just become a loser in love by the end of the story? Only we all know it’s not going to be an easy ride along the way, because nothing ever is. And will Bea go a step too far to ruin everything fate has in store for her? All before she realises too late that some things are worth sacrificing, if you want to rescue something worth saving.

Read this hilarious British novel to find out more.



Jessica and Karis

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 1

Whatever possessed me I will never know, to think I could nip in and out of town to do a bit of Christmas shopping proves that I must need my head testing. For some cheeky bastard from way behind me zooms alongside us to cut into our single lane as it trails off from a double, when the car in front of me lets him in. Talk about road rage. I am seething so I have a good mind to ram him up the backside. Meaning the frigging do-gooder and not, the bugger in the brand-new Mercedes since I cannot get near him seeing as he is ahead of me now. (It is the same twat, who nearly caused me an accident on the roundabout.) I switch some Christmas tunes on to calm down instead of causing any actual criminal damage to anything or anyone. As I look at the tire iron, I keep handy for emergencies. Does this not class as one? I doubt it. Remember, music soothes the savage beast or so they tell me. Jesus, if I have to hear that new charity Christmas single one more time then I will scream until I am sick so I switch that off rather than suffer on. Yeah, ‘Merry fucking Christmas’ to you too pal.

All before, I strain my neck to see beyond my space in the queue at what is keeping us up ahead. Only to find there is no accident and it is a case of just too many damn drivers on the road as per usual. Oh, I get it now. Why the bloke in front of me let him in seeing as he has a football scarf on to match the other dude’s sticker so I guess it is the fans helping each other out. Honestly, they are worse than the old boy network when it comes to doing favours I bet. Mind you, my husband has a mini one of that football shirt type of air freshener dangling from his mirror so I am well nicking that out of his car if it affords you a reward in return. Well fuck the Christmas spirit and good will to all men, not when it is clearly every man for oneself around here.

Hell I was not even going to go into town. Only for listening to the local radio playing some old favourite Christmas songs as I was coming back from the supermarket, which was the thing that persuaded me to try and buy the ‘must have’ toy of the festive season for my little boy this Christmas. Well they are ‘sold out’ online so do not think I have not tried to get one before now. However this announcer suddenly said that this department store found some lost pallets full of them in their warehouse, so they are going to put them on sale this afternoon and it’s obviously on a ‘first come first serve’ basis so I aimed to be one of the lucky few. Why I thought I would be the only person listening to the radio at the time is beyond me for the whole of the North West of England are probably making their way to the exact same destination by the look of it. When I find myself stuck in a traffic jam that leads into the main car park of said shopping precinct and it is not as if I can simply give-up and turn around to go home instead. Not when it is a one-way only line of cars, I find myself sandwiched in as we all grow impatient at the snail’s pace we are moving. While that is an exaggeration if ever there was one for I am standing still at present bumper-to-bumper. Praying does not help either. I know, I shamefully only turn to God when necessary so no wonder the good Lord does not see fit to answer my prayers. Not when I’m not really a true believer and blatantly use the church for my own needs like wanting a big white wedding and having the children christened to please the parents and ensure that they get into a good school so that was a win-win situation all round if you ask me.

Seriously, do these people have nothing better to do at Christmas time other than get in my way? Then I swear under my breath and not aloud since, I am trying to break the habit of a lifetime. Which is not to do it in front of the children but lately that is getting harder and harder to hide as I realise to my relief that I am alone in my vehicle so I can let rip with a series of expletives and I do. That did the trick, as I felt better for all of three seconds. So I follow this with a huge sigh since the feeling of release does not last long after you stop saying the naughty words but you cannot go around saying them all the time, can you. No, not when you have children and an easily offended mother not to mention a job you need to keep. While I guess nobody would believe me if I tried to claim I had developed Turrets overnight.

At last, I have managed to nudge my nose into the car park area and bollocks to this, as I have to ‘practically get out of the side window’ just to reach the damn ticket machine since I am leaning over so much I may fall out altogether at this rate. It is full by the look of it so why are they still letting us in when it does nothing but piss me off further. It does not bode well for my chances of getting my hands on one of those talking robot owls from the new hit movie for my son. Indeed, I have a million other things I need to do rather than spend my Saturday afternoon sitting around here waiting for a bloody available space to open up. The minutes tick by, so I shove the ticket on the dashboard to display it and I cannot believe I am here paying for the privilege of sitting in my car and not for actually parking it yet. I will still have to cough up the fee later on anyway (the robbing bastards who charge such extortionate prices to begin with ‘should be fined’ in my book).

Hold on, is that a free one over there. Fuck it, I cannot get to it unless I exit my vehicle and leave it here in the queue whilst I run between the cars to claim it by sitting down in the available space so nobody can park there. However, who will drive my car for me? As I seriously think about doing that in my desperation, when I look at one of the shoppers passing me whilst laden down with bags but they appear more harassed than I do so I leave them to carry on with their day. Besides, they might rob my car knowing my luck and leave me there on the ground to freeze to death. Great, I lose the speck thanks to football scarf man in the fucking Mercedes as he parks up.

‘What do you mean, where am I? I snap down the phone at my husband when he calls me while I sit with my head on top of my arms as they rest on the steering wheel and slowly lose the will to live.

‘Well you were only going out for a bit of shopping and you’ve been gone ages so I was getting worried.’ I blow air through my teeth.

‘You mean, I left you with the kids and you were wondering when I am bringing them their treats so they will get off your back about it,’ I retort since I know Noah too well to believe that line. I lift my head up just to check if there are any spaces opening up but nothing doing.

‘Yes and no . . . you could have been in an accident for all I knew.’

‘No such luck for you. I will be home when I am done here in town. I’m trying to get the fucking present that’s sold out everywhere.’

‘Mummy said a naughty word.’ I hear my daughter’s voice in the background. I roll my eyes in the mirror and smooth out my dark hair.

‘Robyn Cross, you’re on speaker by the way,’ says Noah, too late to stop me swearing so now I will have to pay the price when I get back and I mean that literally. The jar is nearly full to the brim with my money. I would not mind if I get to spend it when we cash it in, since the pounds are going to charity. So much for charity begins at home.

‘I’ve got to go . . . a space has just opened up so I need to park, bye.’ I hang up the phone to concentrate on parking my car the moment a little car pulls out in front of me. Halle-fucking-lujah, this will be so worth it if I can get the precious owl toy for my little boy’s Christmas.

Having managed to finally manoeuvre myself into parking up, as I reckon the others behind me are cursing me right now but I don’t care because I have a space so I’m feeling a lot luckier than them. It is a bit of a tight squeeze to be honest so I would not have normally gone for this speck and moved on to the next one but what choice did I have. Seeing as I have what looks like a bloody big Hummer next to me that takes up half of my allocated area too. Well it leaves me with little room to get out of the car to be truthful so I will have to be careful not to scratch the doors of either vehicle when I vacate mine.

Great, just when I am ready to open up the car door, someone suddenly sidles up beside me to get into their car on my driver’s side and gives me daggers for parking so close to their vehicle. As if, I did it on purpose. I mouth an apology through the window and point at the monster truck beside me to explain it. She does not seem to accept this explanation with a return smile when she continues to give me the evils, before yanking her door open in annoyance and it bangs mine but no ‘sorry’ from her. To be fair, I probably would have hit her door too when trying to get out of my vehicle so I let her exit and that way I will have more room. What the fuck, some other prize knob in a boy racer sped in the recent vacant spot beside me to park up. It is even closer to me than her car was. He jumps out his side and he has run off before I can get out of my car to give him a piece of my mind. If only I could get out of my car that is, because I am stuck in here now until either him or the Hummer driver buggers off to let me out.

Sod it; there is only one thing for it. I will have to climb out of the bloody sunroof window if I want any chance of getting to the shop before they all go. I mean I do not know how many they have in stock to begin with and they might have sold out already for all my efforts, but I am here now so I have to try at least. When did people stop helping people and start videoing them instead, whenever they spot anyone in trouble. For I have some dick waving his phone in my face instead of helping me, while my foot gets caught in the steering wheel as it slips when I was using it to lever myself up and out. Talk about gracefully does it, not, for I could not be clumsier if I tried.

Whereas I probably look like a silly Santa stuck in the chimney in my crimson hooded duffle coat with a fake furry white scarf and matching hat. Seeing as I have half out and half of my body still inside the vehicle whilst I wiggle the buckle on my black boot to free it. It is not working. This then finds me slipping my socked foot out of my footwear and leaving my boot behind but obviously, I cannot go shopping with just one boot on so I will have to go back in and get it. It sees me standing on the bonnet and bending over with my bottom in the air as I try to reach it. God knows what that teenager caught on video of me fumbling about and it’s a good job my daughter was not here to hear me swear because I don’t have the funds available to pay the fine but I got my boot so that is the main thing, is it not.

Having checked out which way to go, I made my way across the car park and headed straight for the double doors of the entrance to the department store and had no time to look at the lovely Christmas window displays that they do every year. I will have a gander on the way out though, seeing as they always do such a grand job of making you feel all Christmassy inside. As I am hoping, I will be in a better mood when I exit the premises if I manage to secure my purchase since it is the reason I am here in the first place so fingers and toes crossed.

As I wander through the throng of ‘Christmas shoppers’ who are surely after that elusive perfect Christmas present for their loved ones. I bump into many and get trod-on, on more than one occasion whilst veering towards the children’s toys section of the department store. It is on the fifth floor so I have a choice of waiting for the lift or taking the stairs as I stand in-line behind a family group all waiting too. What if they make it there before me and get the last one. I cannot take the risk so I decide to leg it up the stairs instead. Big mistake, for there are even more people in my way, like ‘little old ladies’ with walking sticks and toddlers with reins on. I should have waited for the lift at this rate. While the old dear takes my arm when offered in a bid to rush her up a bit. It sees me practically dragging her up those stairs two at a time. Will I get an owl or miss out by mere moments?

Chapter 2

Thank fuck for that, the old dear did not keel over and neither did I so I made it to the right place at least. Now I just need to locate the bloody owls in this vast land of toys and Christmas decorations that are like a kid’s vivid dream come true. I hope beyond hope that I am not too late. While I stop dead in order to scan the area as soon as I finish holding the door open for the old dear to shuffle through and I can see some of the precious boxes left on the top shelf behind a counter. Unfortunately, for me, it is on the other side of the large room. Therefore, I can hardly waste any more time with this elderly woman beside me before heading for the spot so I need to get going.

‘Oh would you do me a favour my dear, I cannot find my glasses. I know they are in here somewhere. Will you look for me?’ she says. I bite my lip in annoyance that the lift has just opened and that family are heading over towards the counter with the owls. Shit I need to go.

‘Are you sure you packed them in here? You have everything else but those by the look of it . . . including these,’ I reply as I pull out an empty glasses case and an open packet of crackers while the crumbs go everywhere but mainly over my lap so I flick them away whilst crouching down. Her huge handbag rests on the floor in front of me.

‘Would you like one? They are my favourites, not too salty but just right,’ she said and gives me a lopsided smile. I really do not have time for this but I know she looks the type that will not take no for an answer and will find it an insult if I do not take her up on her offer. I take one out of the packet and shove it in my gob before it sucks all the salvia out of my mouth so I cannot even say thanks. As I try not to choke on it whilst chewing with all my might to make it go down but it is like trying to eat a bloody sponge, one of those big car wash ones.

‘Merry Christmas to you,’ I mumble and spit the crumbs at her as I try to speak before I wave to let her know that I am leaving now.

‘You too my dear . . . ha, here they are. Oh silly me, I had them in my pocket all along,’ said the old dear with a shy smile as she pulls the glasses out and puts them on before looking around and resting on the Oswald Owl corner. This was not a ploy to hold me up was it so she can get there first. I roll my eyes at her deviousness if it was and why did I not think of something equally cunning to stop others buying one before me. Hats off to her if it was and as I said earlier, it is every man for himself so sod being polite since this is serious.

Surely, I can make it over there before an old woman can as I leg it off in hot pursuit of that family since they have a head start on me. I look across and notice that the family is nearly there so it would be typical of my luck to lose out but not today, if I have anything to say about it. Only it is not so easy to go from A to B in a hurry when there are numerous obstacles in your way, like prams for instance. Why do people leave them in the middle of the aisles when they should move them to the side and out of the fucking way? Honestly, some people have no sense whatsoever. As I stub my toe on the wheel of one buggy. Now I am limping but nothing will stop me, do you hear me. Even when a kid tries to fly a mini dragon drone and it hits a Christmas tree display to knock most of the baubles falling into my path I will not be put-off, as I boot them out of my way and one goes into the old dear’s open bag as she cuts across me. How did she catch up with me so fast? Does she have skates on under that long coat?

‘Don’t cry, sweetie,’ I mumble to the little girl because my mouth is still dry as a bone so I can hardly get my words out as she stands there looking lost with her face all red and blotchy from crying. Mind you, my face is not far off that from frustration and I may well find myself in floods of tears if I do not get my hands on one of those Oswald Owls, not to mention the fucking heat in here. Why is it so damn hot? On the other hand, is it just me because I am severely bothered? Can they not see us all walking around in our winter wear so no need to turn up the frigging heating on our behalf, thanks? Who can truthfully walk on by and ignore a crying child? Not me, that is for sure but I notice some others do, the lousy fuckers. I do not need a distraction.

‘I can’t find Mummy,’ she sobs. I desperately look around to see if there is anyone else who can help this child, besides me, because I do not have time. Not right now for fuck’s sake. Nobody, that is great.

‘This child has lost her mummy,’ I mumble to the nearest retail assistant and smile to show that I am friendly and mean no harm.

‘The toilets are down the end of this lane and turn left,’ replies the bored retail assistant in her department store uniform. I really do not have time for this. Christ Almighty, will you give me a fucking break. I would swear aloud but not in front of the child. Saying that, they probably would not understand me anyway if I did but I do not risk it.

‘Here, take her,’ I mumble and hand over the kid to the assistant.

‘It is not my job to take your child to the loo. Here you go,’ she replies and goes to hand her back to me, but it ‘falls on deaf ears’ as I stomp off. It is not my problem so why should I have to deal with it.

‘Could the woman in the red coat with the matching furry white hat and scarf please pick up her daughter from till nine, thank you,’ said the retail assistant’s voice over the Tannoy. I cannot believe this is happening to me. I tried to forget the kid even exists and carry on with my mission, really I did, but people were looking at me funny like I had abandoned my baby and at Christmas of all times as if it makes it worse to do it then as opposed to any other month. I take a deep breath to calm myself before I have a Christmas meltdown, right here in the middle of this sodding department store since I am quite sure I would not be the first or the last for that matter to suffer the consequences of trying to provide the perfect Christmas for your kin.

‘There she is,’ said the retail assistant to the security guard, pointing at me so he brings the kid across to hand her over. As I stand in-line at the counter selling the Oswald Owls, behind the family and the old dear at the front of the queue because she beat us all to it so go figure.

This finds me taking the little girl’s hand once more and nodding at them to accept it before they walk away to leave me to it. It is bloody typical of me to go out shopping for a gift and come back with a brand-new kid, is what my husband Noah would say if he were here so good job, he is not here to witness this fiasco. Well I could hardly object to taking the youngster off their hands and end up being frog marched to the office for being in possession of a child that does not belong to me. Until that is, I explain everything and prove that this child is not mine and they need to find the real mother but that could take ages and all the damn talking owls will surely be gone by then. There they are, right in front of me, the few they have left and it is nearly in my grasp so everything will be fine once that happens and I will focus on finding the child’s mother myself because I can take my time then so it does not matter what happens next once I have an owl.

‘What the, that’s not fair,’ I mumble since my mouth still seems like I’ve been eating sand and it’s left a load of grit in my teeth (yuck).

‘I’m sorry to disappoint you, madam and your daughter of course but we’re all sold out of Oswald Owls,’ said this other shop assistant.

Well I could spit with rage, if I had anything to spit with that is but I do not as that cracker feels like it has glued my tongue to the roof of my mouth. I need to be able to speak properly if I am going to demand to see the manager and make a formal complaint because it is simply not on that one family gets to purchase five, yes FIVE Oswald Owls and I get none. Hell I might even have to use the fake daughter of mine to my advantage if necessary, even if I have to remind her of her missing mummy to make her cry on cue. I know that is slightly bad of me but what choice do I have if I aim to argue the toss. Now I just need to bring the salvia back to my mouth somehow with a drink, but where can I get my hands on one before I literally die of thirst.

Then I spot an opportunity so I take it. I accidentally on purpose bump into a stand to cause a diversion that distracts from me taking a Sippy-Cup out of the hands of a toddler secured in his buggy. In order to swallow some quickly and help to wash away the last remnants of that fucking cracker. Since I swear, it is stuck to my teeth too. Sod it; I need more than this but this thing only gives out a dribble at a time so I will be here all day at this rate. As I suck on that motherfucker for all I was worth before I give-up and try to whip the top off discreetly. The boy starts to kick up a fuss, when I dare to take another swig and mumble to myself just to be sure that I can still use my vocal cords now they have lubrication. What was in that cup? It was strong stuff and tasted like thick, sour blackcurrant juice as opposed to the sweet watery stuff my kids have at home but I could do with the vitamins.

‘Hey, what are you doing with that cup?’ asks the father of said boy.

‘He dropped it. I was just handing it back to him,’ I reply and give it over as the kid kicks out with his leg to hit me in the knee, cheers for that. I suppose I deserved it when I drank half his drink.

‘I bet he tossed it away. It contains his medicine for his sore throat,’ said the man as he encourages his son to take some but he refuses so I reckon it is because he knows where it has been and he does not want my germs on it too, even more than putting up with the horrible taste. Looking on the bright side, I will not have a sore throat for Christmas.

‘Are you sure there is no more Oswald Owls in stock somewhere in this store?’ I said and looked at the empty shelves where the boxes once stood. Whilst wishing for them to magically appear like the fucking owl does all the time in the movie, when you least expect it.

‘Sorry no, like I said they’ve all gone.’ She turns her back on me to signal that there is nothing more she can do for me so go away please.

‘But they have five.’ I point at the family with a look of pure envy as they stand around and admire their purchases through the clear boxes.

‘Yes, it’s a one per customer policy and they bought one each so they are separate sales. I can assure you there is nothing irregular going on here, madam,’ she says and turns around with a sad smile to look at my daughter since she thinks she will be the one missing out. Never mind her. What about me, where is my sympathetic smile?

‘Is there any chance your warehouse will find some more before Christmas?’ I ask in hope that my quest is not over yet and I still have time to purchase one, since it is only the 12th of December.

‘No, that is it I am afraid. Have you tried online?’ I could scream.

‘Yes I have. They are sold out everywhere so I am going to have one disappointed little boy come Christmas.’ I hang my head in shame.

‘Oh, I thought it was for your little girl here.’ As I wonder if it will help matters to lie, but I do feel like I am wasting my time and hers.

‘Err yes, it is for her and she is going to share it with my son,’ I said because she might take pity on me and take one of those five owls back off the family to give to me. Since I look like my dog just died.

However, no such luck befalls me and the family leave happy with their five fucking owls. I hope they break or they cannot find batteries for them come Christmas morning (been there and done that to have the tears/temper tantrums because of it and that is, just talking about the husband never mind the kids). Well they were mean not to share their good fortune with me, especially when they could see the little girl’s face. How were they to know it was not sad because she wanted an owl, but because she wants her mummy. I finally give-up and decide to leave the building to go home but first off, I must find this poor girl’s mother as I look about for a distressed woman looking for a child and why hasn’t she gone to security by now so they can announce it over the Tannoy and I will then know where to take her. Surely, she must realise that her child is missing. Shit, I might have to keep the kid over Christmas if I cannot reunite her with the mother because I do not want to get into trouble for pretending that she was mine just to secure a bloody talking toy owl. I can see the headlines already or another place ‘being set’ at the Christmas table at this rate.

‘Oh hold on, what’s this under here,’ said the shop assistant as she suddenly pulls out an Oswald Owl box from underneath the countertop and my eyes light up like a Christmas tree at the sight of it. If I could do cartwheels down the aisle, I would, but I was never very good at getting my legs up over my head so they were always pathetic. I think I will give them a miss. Besides, I will probably trip over the prams in the way if I did attempt it so I settle for a fist-pump in the air instead, at least it will not see me harming others or myself.

‘I’ll take it,’ I shout in excitement, grabbing the box off her. I cannot believe my luck has changed. I am Supermum for getting it. God I am so happy. It was worthwhile, all the hassle and stress gone as it feels like there is one less thing to worry about now. I can relax a little.

‘I am so very sorry, madam. My mistake . . . that one is not for sale,’ she says and tries to snatch it back from me. Is this a joke? This cannot be happening surely. One minute I have it safely in my hands and the next; she is robbing it back off me. What is going on here?

‘I am taking this one home with me, or I will sue this store,’ I shout at her as a tug of war ensues between us when neither party is willing to give way to the other and we are equally as strong in grip.

‘Please let go . . . this one has a reserve sticker on it so that’s why it was underneath the counter,’ she insists but I refuse to let her have it. I did not know you could reserve them, they did not tell us that on the radio when they told us to get down there as quickly as possible before they all go. I have risked life and limb when there was no need because I could have rang my order through over the goddamn phone.

‘What name is it reserved under?’ I ask with both hands still holding on for dear life. Sorry kid but it looks like you are on your own from now on, as I had to let go of the little girl’s hand to take up the challenge. The youngster runs off into the arms of a nearby woman for a big hug. As I presume this is her mother so that is one less problem for me to deal with at least. The woman smiles at me to say thanks for looking after her little girl rather coming over to chat, since she can clearly see I have my hands full here. No way, am I about to go over there so I nod in return to acknowledge her before getting back to business. When will this torture end? Just give me the owl.

‘The name is Mr Ronnie Watkins so I don’t suppose that’s you.’

‘Actually that’s my husband’s name. He must have reserved it for me so if you don’t mind handing it over then I will pay for my purchase,’ I lie through gritted teeth since we are still gripping on tightly for all we are worth. I cannot give-up without a fight, literally.

‘Will you be paying by cash or credit? Do you have an ID with you?’ she asks to annoy me further since I want to get away from here quickly before the real Mr Ronnie Watkins shows up, if I have any chance of walking away with the prize. I do not like my odds, do you?

‘I will be paying with cash and no; I’ve left my ID at home.’

‘In your other bag I suppose.’ She nods at the one over my shoulder.

‘Yeah something, like that. Listen, I am in a rush so if you will just take my money then I can be on my way,’ I said to hurry things along.

‘We are open until ten this evening. It’s late night shopping throughout Christmas so that gives you plenty of time to go home, grab your ID and then make it back here where I will gladly sell you this reserved order no problem.’ I could smack her, I really could but I do not as I do not want to spend Christmas in jail for assaulting an assistant who was only doing her job at the end of the day.

‘Fine . . . and Merry friggin Christmas to you too,’ I snap and let go of the box just as the real Mr Ronnie Watkins turns up to collect his Oswald Owl. I do not believe this. It is none other than that fucking wanker in the Mercedes (the one with the football scarf on). He stole my lane at the roundabout and into the car park as if he was in such a hurry, but there was clearly no emergency if he took his time getting here. I glare at the twat and hate him twice as much as I did before.

‘Oh, Mr Watkins, I was just saying to your wife here that I could not give her the order as she has forgotten her ID.’ He hands her his card.

‘There was me forgetting I even

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