Have you heard? Christmas is coming

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

Each year we have a debate at Thornton Towers: fake or real? Yes it’s time to put the Christmas tree up.

We always opt for a real one although every Twelfth Night, as we pick the pine needles out of our hair, mince pies and Christmas jumpers, we swear it will be the last time.

Peterborough City Council controversially have been faking it for a while and this year sees the third Christmas the £40,000 white globe ‘tree’ has been the centrepiece of the city’s lights.

It has attracted plenty of criticism. I still can’t make my mind up about it – it looks great at night after a few shandies, but is less impressive the morning after in the harsh daylight. Which I suppose is a feeling many people have at this time of year after a boozy office party.

I feel sorry for whoever’s responsible for the tree’s safekeeping for the rest of the year. Every November some poor soul has to climb into the loft at the town hall and haul it down – hoping beyond hope it still works and mice haven’t eaten through the wires. Or even worse one of the globes hasn’t gone missing.

A lot of residents were appalled at the cost of 40 grand especially as the last real tree the council bought cost £1,987 plus VAT.

So that’s roughly 20 years of real trees, but to be fair to the council (‘tis the season of goodwill after all!) its overall Christmas lights spending has gone down from £82,000 when we last had a real tree to £62,000 this year.

On the downside though, we no longer get the annual ‘photo-opportunity’ with the mayor in a cherry pickier plonking a fairy on top of the tree.

The annual lights switch-on proved very popular with 6,000 turning out this year. This despite Peterborough not feeling the need (and saving the money) of roping in a celebrity. Rugby, a much smaller place, had pop star Pixie Lott switching their lights on (pictured).

So, maybe the council has got the right balance between playing Scrooge and the jolly fellow with the white beard. Although, if Pixie had done the honours here I can guarantee the attendence in Cathedral Square would have been at least 6,001.

The huge crowd backs up a recent survey which claimed that Peterborough people love Christmas more than anywhere else in the country. Presumably, they didn’t ask anyone stuck in Serpentine Green car park on Saturday after the Coca Cola truck sparked mayhem

I’m told the anger was real, not fake!

For Pete’s sake

A story appeared in some national newspapers and websites about Peter Andre who recently was in Queensgate signing bottles of his perfume.

It was about Peter’s alleged list of ‘outrageous’ demands or a ‘rider’ as it is known for a personal appearance for Slimming World

It claimed Pete demanded expensive white wine.

The story went on: “Other delicacies reportedly requested were a selection of assorted Cadbury chocolates, chopped ginger, chewing gum and manuka honey.’’

Hang on, chewing gum? A delicacy? Who writes this tosh?

Best of all an updated version revealed, Peter doesn’t drink alcohol.

He must love a packet of Mr Wrigley’s finest though!

Standing room

I really want to “Stand Up For Peterborough’’ and back the campaign started by city council leader John Holdich.

The cause is sound – a fair funding deal for the city – but it seems doomed to defeat before it starts.

I support enough lost causes (I’m a Leeds United fan) without adding another to the list.

Is a Government that ignored the wishes of hundreds of thousands of people who wanted free Meningitis B vaccines to save the lives of children really going to take a notice of few well-meaning councillors in Bridge Street holding a banner?

Diary Of A Bad Dad

I’ve been very remiss. I’ve been referring to my boy as Toddlernator the Terrible, even though he has had his third birthday and hence is no longer a toddler.

He’s still terrible, mind you. We are still having, erm, behavioural issues with T2 as he shall henceforth be known.

On Sunday, he was on spectacular form, from ripping newly hung decorations down, to fashioning a festive noose out of tinsel.

I had earlier warned him not to try climbing on the Christmas tree to which he indignantly replied: “I didn’t climb on it last year.’’

True as this was, it didn’t fill me full of confidence for a “happy Christmas and a peaceful new year’’ at Thornton Towers.

Even his biggest fan, his mum, was getting exasperated and demanded: “Why have you been so naughty today?’’

With his trademark cheeky grin he laughed: “Because I wanted to have some fun.’’