Catboy's guide to Christmas in Dubai
Chritsmas always comes early in Dubai, says Catboy…
It started early this year. And when I say “it started early”, I mean it started early even by our standards.
My first inkling was at Halloween. I was marvelling at just how much supermarkets are willing to charge for pumpkins in Dubai when I heard the immediately recognisable ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding, ding ding ding ding diiiiiing, followed by the saccharine warble of one of the most demanding singers on earth telling us she doesn’t want a lot for Christmas.
At that moment I looked more meerkat than human. Up I popped, head twitching and swivelling, suspiciously eyeing other shoppers to see if they were hearing the same thing I was. Everyone was just carrying on as usual. Maybe my ears are more attuned to this sort of thing because of the day-job, I thought.
The next sign was a mid-November, mid-supermarket argument with my wife about this year’s tree. For the past three years we’ve had a huge tree. Ten feet of fairly realistic looking plastic fir, towering over us and almost touching the ceiling. Sadly, due to being broke, we had to move into a smaller villa and the big tree would look a little “Clark Griswold” in our new place, so I gently broached the subject of downsizing. I might as well have said “and let’s sell one of the kids”, judging by the expression on my wife’s face.
And so I found myself shouting “SEVEN FEET!” at a woman shouting “NINE FEET!” right back at me repeatedly, as our three children stood there, motionless, hoping an eccentric billionaire would pass by and, seeing what they have to live with, take them under his wing. We left with no tree.
Once we were back on speaking terms (still in the middle of November) and after a slew of festive TV ads from British heavyweights including John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Heathrow, I came home after the Breakfast Show one morning to find my wife in the kitchen surrounded by bulging carrier bags.
“I thought we could have a Christmas buffet with the kids,” she murmured, sheepishly. An hour later we’d made 30 golden, crispy, vegetarian cranberry sausage rolls and several large, floury bread buns filled with Quorn turkey, horseradish, cranberry and stuffing [ed’s note: Catboy is a vegetarian – hence the quorn].
Even his dog’s dressed up for the occasion already:
The amazing taste was only matched by a sense of overbearing guilt. We were peaking too early. We normally have a rule… For the past couple of months before Christmas we eat nothing even remotely like a Christmas dinner or even a Sunday roast, for fear of the big meal on the actual day losing that “fireworks in the mouth” feeling. It’s a cross to bear but the pay-off is all the more exquisite for it.
There I sat, head back, eyes closed and belly full. The scent of the balsam candles (way too early for that) filling the room, whilst Bob Newhart delivered the opening monologue from Elf (See? There’s no hope!)
And then it happened…
The soft, unmistakable sound of the seal being broken on a plastic lid. The cacophony of crinkles as four sets of hands plunged in. The sibling bickering over who gets the menu-card.
Without opening my eyes I knew what she’d done…
She’d opened the Cadbury Roses.
Catboy hosts the Dubai 92 breakfast show with Aylissa, Sunday to Thursday 6am to 10am, with What’s On setting up your weekend on Fridays from 11am. dubai92.com