It sounds like a horror movie, doesn’t it? Sort of the reverse of the Seventh Day, when you’re supposed to rest. More 21st century urban nightmare than traditional Christmas. (Indeed, the IMdB data base does list a move called DAY 13 filmed in 2017. But that’s about all it says.)
POST PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION REVIEW
Well, Mr True Love, would you say that you succeeded in implementing your ideas?
Did you achieve your goals?
Did the project fully solve the problem it was designed to address?
Can you take things further (further?!) to deliver bigger benefits in the future? (Yikes!)
DAY 13 INVENTORY
So, Mr True Love, let us pause a moment and review an inventory of the gifts which you have now transferred into the beneficial ownership of your Beloved, together with their attendent costs.
I am indebted to my colleague, Joanna Maitland, for her detailed and very helpful calculations on this.
- drummers 12
- pipers 22
- leaping lords 30
- dancing ladies 36
- milkmaids 40
- cows 40
- swans 42
- geese 42
- rings 35
- calling birds 32
- French hens 27
- turtle doves 22
- partridges 12
- pear trees 12
On-going maintenance costs transferred:
- Performance space for up to 140 persons
- Hire of Portaloo for up to 140 persons
- Hygienic housing, feeding and vets’ bills for up to 135 domestic fowl, 40 cattle
- Removal and disposal of animal waste of up to 135 domestic fowl, 40 cattle
- lake for convenience of 42 wild birds
- orchard for planting of 12 trees
- staff costs
- legal costs arising (neighbours’ nuisance, employment disputes, insurance etc)
To be frank, Mr True Love, the cost of upkeep will most likely far exceed your own initial outlay.
In addition, while this prolonged and interestingly structured series of gifts will undoubtedly have widened awareness of your Brand, the conspicuous costs and stress resulting to the recipient are unlikely to have attracted market sympathy with the True Love Name or enhanced future engagement.
DAY 13 OBJECTIVES
Ah, but what if those were True Love’s objectives all the time?
Imagine, for instance, a grown up William Brown, cornered by a nineteen-year-old Violet Elizabeth Bott. She is bored with uni and determined to nail a romantic partner for life. And she can thtill thcweam. He wouldn’t just give up, would he? Not William.
Or Bertie Wooster. Say that soupy Madeline Bassett informs him that she is back on the wedding market and expects him to step up to the plate. Let us say that her previous affianced, that vigorous member of the Black Shorts, Roderick Spode, 7th Earl of Sidcup, has become a Special Adviser to Donald Trump and pushed off Stateside.
La Bassett has always detected a romantic cavalier in poor Bertie’s writhing depths. Now she will be urging him to get in touch with his Inner Soul and Be Spontaneous in Wooing her.
What advice do you think Jeeves would provide? Bet he’d buy the geese himself, if necessary.
DAY 13 COMMENTATORS OF THE PAST
The wonderful John Julius Norwich created a series of Thank You letters from the well-mannered recipient in which we can chart not only her response to the gift, but also the course of Mr True Love’s wooing. The perfect gift for an overly romantic partner or friend.
Frank Kelly, as Lesley pointed out, had the same idea, except that his hero has a troublesome and possessive mother who gets increasingly indignant. Possibly Nuala True-Love’s objective was to drive the old crone into the Local Home for the Bewildered under permanent sedation. She achieves that. Unfortunately she terminally alienates her beloved at the same time.
Sigh. Unintended consequences. They get you, every time!
DAY 13 BOOK
This one’s a gem, for children and adults alike: The Thirteen Days of Christmas by Jenny Overton
I was given it by a Mr True-Love-of-the-Time many years ago, as a birthday present. It’s a hoot. Also charming, deeply believable and with some wonderful characters. And set in England of yore, with some lovely seasonal ceremonies described. Really touching, a couple of them.
Annaple Kitson is the eldest girl of the family, kind and responsible, also bossy and a terrible cook. And horrendously romantic. She has a suitor but he’s a merchant and she doesn’t think he’s truly romantic, no matter what he says. So her Francis, egged on by her younger brother and sister who want to marry her off so their food can improve, decide to help him prove that he can be romantic after all. Only merchants are used to buying in bulk…
WHY READ DAY 13 BOOK?
- Because it’s equally good to read on your own, out loud with mates and a glass of champagne, or with children, who love the more slapstick and guano elements. And they’re right. Jenny Overton says on Amazon that she wrote it for her younger sister. It shows and it’s wonderful.
- Because the romance, though lightly drawn is, like everything else in this book, deeply believable.
- Because Francis, the True Love is an absolute sweetheart and I love him to bits.
- Because the Kitson family are warm and loving and kind to each other in a slightly ham-fisted way, while constantly taking the piss out of each other. We should all have such families.
- Because Jenny Overton writes like a dream.
- Because it’s fun.
And that’s me done for now. Thank you for trotting along with me on this leap from book to book, sometimes only tenuously associated with the Day in question. And huge thanks to Joanna who did most of the techie stuff, found the translations and did the sums. Phew!
From Day 1 onwards, I couldn’t have had more fun. It’s been a blast! Thank you for having me.
Enjoyed the series of posts immensely, Sophie. I reread The thirteen days of Christmas every year during the season – it’s delightful.
Great to find a fellow fan, Sharon. When do you think it’s set by the way? I’d always sort of vaguely thought cavaliers and roundheads but I’ve now seen a review that says mediaeval/Tudor. I suppose it’s a measure of how good it is, that it doesn’t matter.
Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this series of posts, Sophie – I read every one, though I didn’t leave comments! You’ve brought some good books to my attention too, so thank you.
So glad you’ve enjoyed it, Ros. It’s been a lot of fun for us, too.
I’ve LOVED it, as you know – mind you, I love all Liberta’s posts. I also love the idea of Spode going off to be an advisor to Trump – more convenient than having him chum up with Farage. I now have to find a copy of today’s book – thank you for the recommendation. Sounds like a book the kids and I would read out loud to each other every Christmas. There used to be several, but it has narrowed down to Molesworth’s description of his father and A Christmas Carol. So thank you for that, and all the rest of them.
Well, I don’t think Spode will last long in the current White House, Lesley. But you can see how he couldn’t resist the opportunity to order everyone around and lecture people. Probably get away with it longer than some because of his pukka English accent, too.
Oh, I do hope you love the Jenny Overton as much as I do. It’s a jewel of a book.
Thanks for the lovely series, Sophie. I enjoyed it very much and looked forward to reading each post. The Thirteen Days of Christmas looks like a wonderful read and is yet another I’ve added to my list. Wishing you all the best for 2018!
Thank you so much, Helena. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by The Thirteen Days of Christmas.
An excellent 2018 to you, too.
Having a 2nd go at commenting – it wouldn’t let me in via Twitter.
Lovely series of blogs, thank you, Sophie! And have ordered the 13 Days book. I think I may have read it many years ago but lost track of author/title.
PS concerned about lack of security for those gold rings in your on-going costs…
You’re very welcome, Louise.
And you’re right about the rings, of course. They’d be on the insurance policy, naturally. But if she were wearing them she could well be mugged. And if she weren’t, they should be in a safe. The costs to her just get higher and higher the more you think about it.
Hilarious as ever, Sophie. I’ve enjoyed this series so much. Got several new books to read out of it and a great laugh or aahhh moment every day. Thanks for taking time out to put it all together. As for 13 Days of Christmas. Must get that one!
Great. Delighted it gave you all that, Liz. Thank you.
Its been a wonderful series!! Esp. the last one. I remember Penelope Keith reading it one year.
Thanks very much for putting it all together
Penelope Keith must have been wonderful. Must have a rummage and see if I can find it in the BBC archives. So glad you’ve enjoyed our little jeu d’esprit, John.
I’m so glad that so many people have enjoyed Sophie’s book-leaping. I loved it all, too, and found some new favourites among the inspired choices.
Still feeling very sorry for The Beloved, though. I would imagine she has a splitting headache (all those ***** birds) and is lying down in a darkened room with a wet flannel across her eyes. She can’t even go and have a relaxing bath because the swans are in there, queueing to take turns, pending the acquisition of their crucial lake. Mr True Love, I spit you in the eye!
You go, Girlfriend! Let’s hear it for the sisterhood!
I adore Spode, in his black shorts with his sturdy English knees, and his mad schemes. The actor who plays Spode in the version of Jeeves and Wooster with Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry is wonderful!