It is a well-known fact chez nous: I have become a grumpy old git, a right curmudgeon. If I were to write to the newspapers, I would almost feel obliged to sign myself, "Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells", although quite why the spa town should have become the residence de rigeur of all such petty-minded killjoys as Disgusted is something I am still trying to work out. Why not Harrogate or Leamington Spa?
But to get back to the point.
Every year, the Old Bat (appropriate name for someone featured in a post about Hallowe'en) has insisted on buying a pumpkin along with bags of treat-size chocolate bars such as Milky Way. Having scooped out the inedible innards, she carves eyes, nose and mouth out and places a nightlight inside the pumpkin - which I am then obliged to place beside the front door at dusk, having burnt several fingers while trying to get the nightlight alight. I also have to switch on the outside light in case the poor little darlings trip on the steps when they come calling to beg sweets. And it's me who is expected to answer the door and hand out said sweets.
This excuse for begging - trick or treat - is something I have never been happy with. (OK - something with which I have never been happy, if you insist on being grammatically pernickety.) It's another of those horrible American inventions, like iced tea, Oreos and Fathers' Day. Anyway, this year, as it's me doing the shopping on my own now, I looked in the superwotsits for bags of sweets of the right size and price for giving out on Hallowe'en. There weren't any. That was on three visits to two different superwotsits. Then yesterday, I found just what I had been looking for. But there were no pumpkins!
So this year, for the first time for many a long year, we were spared. No lighted steps. No pumpkin rather clumsily carved to look vaguely like a face. No little brats demanding sweets with menaces.
But I looked out of the window and saw a house across the street with the outside light on and a grinning pumpkin beside the door. And I remembered little George who lives there. And I felt mean.
But I still don't approve of trick or treat.