Staff Association
CONTACT: Christmas 1974
The Christmas season presents its own problems; can we afford to be seen wearing the revolting tie that dear Aunt Ada has sent from Bognor, how can Uncle Bert be restrained from singing "Nellie Dean" after his fourth Tia Maria, what steps can be taken to prevent young Bobby from being disgustingly ill after a planned overdose of trifle, and where did we put the alka-seltzer?

Never the man to withhold the helping hand, I have placed at your disposal some jolly japes and wheezes which are guaranteed to keep the party going - soon, I hope - and here they are. Let's start with a sing song, shall we? Nothing too trendy, you understand, rather more of the golden oldie, so if you're already here we go:
Oh give me a Branch
That's as big as a Ranch,
Where the customers happily stay,
Where the soft spoken word
Is quite easily heard,
And the workmen aren't in every day.
(etc. etc.)
Or if the spirit of Christmas is strong upon you, how about a Carol?
Good Saint Alban once looked out,
On the Bank Computer
"What a lovely sight," said he,
"And I'm no line-shooter;
Wait till we are all on-line,
Then we'll show them how, Sir"
But impatient choirs reply
"We're on a line right now, Sir".
Once the acclamation has died down, it's time for something quieter, while the nuts are passed around; so here's a suggestion for a quiet party game which everybody can play - it's called Secrets and the rules are simple.

Everybody decides on a master plan: like filling Grandpa's slippers with treacle, booking Cousin Amy on a holiday with the head-hunters of Papua, giving the cat what's left of the turkey and serving the guests Jellymeat Whiskas, or pretending to be from the Town and Country planning people and informing all the neighbours that they have to move to the house next door, lock stock and barrel, by midnight. (These are only suggestions, of course: no doubt you will have your own ideas). But the whole point of the game is that when the assembled company have decided on their own plan, THEY DON'T TELL ANYBODY. This can give rise to endless speculation and much harmless - well, relatively harmless - fun for young and old, and, if played properly, can last for weeks.

Another little gem for you; this one is called Communication. Two people - for preference one of them should be hard of hearing - stand about two feet apart, and a large eiderdown is suspended between them. They start a conversation and if there is any indication that they can hear each other without positively shrieking, the eiderdown can be reinforced with - say - plate glass, thick felt or bundles of old newspaper. Further impediments can be arranged, such as switching the stereo up to its maximum power, plugging in the Black & Decker (a power saw is best for this) - letting Willie have his head with the drum kit that Father Christmas brought him or hammering nails into the ceiling. If either of the competitors remains sane for more than ten seconds he is declared the winner, and given a regulation dose of sedatives.

A couple more songs, I fancy, to conclude the proceedings, and what better than an old Boy Scout favourite:
Isn't it a gas that the BMB,
Is joining with the TSB,
Cloak and dagger stuff - top secrecy,
What a happy family.
Think of all the fun for you and me,
Working with the TSB,
Clerks-in-charge will go, but Actuary,
Takes their place at the BMT
House Purchase cheaply?
Is it all a lovely dream?
I feel it deeply,
That we'll maybe get some cream.
Harvest Bonds and Trusts too, you'll agree,
What a lot of work we'll shortly see.
Who will foot the bill in pounds and p.,
All I hope is - it's not me.
And especially for Uncle Bert who by now has reached the stage of lachrymosity:
There's a Branch that's South of here, I proclaim:
That won't do to take on-line - what a shame!
Let us have the builders in,
Never mind the dust and din,
It won't take long - (you're joking) - what a game.
All together now - Happy Christmas!