A little bit earlier than normal with this year's festive top five. Christmas is for me all about the magic of waking up and finding a pile of presents at the foot of your bed or under the tree. This top five is about those presents that made my childhood Christmases memorable before I became a Dad and Christmas became a whole different ball game.
Happy Christmas everyone, I hope you have a lovely holiday break and that Santa brings you everything you hoped for.
1. New Bike - I have a fairly vivid memory of coming down to find a shiny new bike in the front room next to the tree. Oddly, I don't remember much about the bike after this so I suspect it was my first with two wheels and didn't last me all that long. You'll probably be disappointed to read it wasn't a Chopper.
2. Scalextric - A starter set with a small figure of eight track and two classic Minis (one Red, one Yellow). Possibly this was the beginning of my love of Mini's (I now drive a proper one, when it's not off the road for various minor ailments) though I probably saw The Italian Job around the same time. We had the track set up all day on the upstairs landing and I remember spending most of Christmas racing various family members.
3. Transistor Radio - The only present on the list I didn't get from Mum & Dad. Uncle Stan and Auntie Margaret bought me this small plastic radio along with a Concorde shaped gold tie-pin (Auntie M worked for British Airways). At first I was a little nonplussed but when I eventually gave it a go I became enthralled by the stations I discovered. There was a lot of static and foreign voices but I was excited to discover the mysterious Radio Luxembourg and began my discovery of music outside of Mum & Dad's record collection.
4. Subbuteo - The beginning of another minor obsession. This starter set came with a felt pitch (that always rucked up at the crucial moment), two teams (one in Fulham colours obviously), a floodlight (essential for those mid-week late night fixtures) and all the necessary paraphernalia. I probably spent more time trying to collect accessories to make my set look more like a real football ground (camera gantry, grandstand, crowd members, St. John's ambulance crew and the like) than actually playing the game. I did try and keep a mini league going for a while and spent most of my pocket money collecting teams from the wonderful Subbuteo team catalogue.
5. Fulham Kit - My first replica kit (Shirt, Shorts & Socks!) from the 1979-80 season. I'd been to my first game in August and got the football bug. It was an Adidas kit but made from some horrible polyester material that rubbed my skin the wrong way. The shorts never quite fitted me either though I remember wearing the entire ensemble to football practice for several weeks before admitting it was bloody uncomfortable.