Monday, December 28, 2009

Who do you think you are kidding?

The older mini-W was keen on buying a goat for Christmas - one of the 'living gifts' that charities invite you to send to the developing world. Delighted at her early sense of social responsibility, I said that if she saved up enough pocket money to buy one of the trusty ruminants, I would get one too. It was a kind of BOGOF deal with a benevolent twist.

Little did I know that I was about to enter a world of extreme kitsch. On the Oxfam website, our goat 'couple' is pictured dressed for a wedding. Mrs Goat is wearing a veil, while the groom proudly boasts a top hat. All that's missing is the Best Goat making his after-dinner speech.

'Go on,' the excitable copywriter urges us. 'Do it for the kids!'

It's good to know that the animals we're sending are happily married, as co-habiting goats are probably frowned upon in many parts of the developing world. Two goats of the same sex would be absolutely out of the question, even if there had been some kind of civil ceremony.

The mini-W has an idea that the living gifts are being flown out to Africa. In my own fevered imagination, I wondered whether they might be taking the honeymoon suite on a cruise ship. The reality - that they're probably found in Africa anyway and are simply given to communities that need them - was causing some confusion among the younger generation at Woodford Towers, so I decided to let the subject drop. Until Mrs W happened to chip in with an idea for a TV sketch.

She envisaged a scenario in which the gift vouchers go to Africa by mistake and the goats end up at the door of the well-meaning donor in Hampstead. Nice idea and copyright Mrs W, all rights reserved. Of course, in that kind of mix-up, it wouldn't matter if the goats weren't married. They'd be made welcome regardless of their marital status, gender or sexuality.

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