Yesterday I decided to make a start on my Christmas shopping. As always my first port of call was Cheapman's Store. It's a really delightful place. A huge building in the middle of Badgertown. You can get things for next to nothing. Nearly all the badgers shop there. Of course there are other shops, but they have a struggle. They get what they can by weeping at their doors and entreating people to come in.
Cheapman had some special lines for Christmas - Motor-bikes at only a halfpenny each and flour at four sacks a penny. It's a mystery to me how he makes his profits but make them he does - he is almost as rich as me and far richer than the King of the Badgers. It was quite exhausting trying to decide between all the bargains, so we decided to have an early lunch.
I ordered a halfpenny lunch for myself, the Old Monkey and Cowgill. It consisted of twenty-five courses and took us three hours to get through. At the end the waiter tipped us with a parcel containing a games console, eight pounds of chocolate and a very nice brass trombone. I gave the console to the Old Monkey which pleased him greatly.
The day was somewhat marred by an unfortunate incident in Santa's Grotto. The Old Monkey had excitedly insisted on going in - but came out looking decidedly put out. Father Christmas had been quite miserable and rather rude - accusing the Old Monkey of pretending to be a child to get a freebie. The Old Monkey said that his costume was quite dirty and he looked very dishevelled. There was a strong odour of Black Tom about the place as well.
I'm sure that is not the sort of Christmas spirit Mr Cheapman had in mind, but one has to admire his philanthropy in employing a down and out.