Robert in Lockdown – 31.12.20

Robert was looking forward to spending Christmas Day with his parents in Fort William... but how did his gift to his parents go down with his dad? Find out in next week's Oban Times!

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I count myself very lucky to have made it home to the Highlands for Christmas before the increased restrictions came in. It now looks like I will be home for the foreseeable future until the regulations are eased again.

Rather than dwelling, though, on the unprecedented Christmas restrictions, I thought I would use this week’s column simply to tell a story of a controversial Christmas present.

I have never been particularly good at buying suitable presents but this year, for my Mum and Dad, I thought I’d really cracked it. I recently experienced cooking in an outdoor pizza oven. You prepare the dough and the toppings, put some pellets in the machine, and (within two minutes) you’ve got an incredibly tasty pizza.

Mum and Dad have been making use of their “log shed” in the garden regularly this year. It’s only got three walls so allows them to sit outside with friends while social distancing but warmed by a fire pit and a chiminea. A pizza oven would be the perfect addition to the set up – or so I thought.

A number of weeks before Christmas I decided it would be better ordering it to the house in Fort William (rather than my flat in Glasgow) to avoid having to cart it up the road in a car already filled to the gunnels with all my washing for my mum!

I decided, therefore, to tell my mum about the present, on the condition that she could keep it a secret from Dad, and warn her of its imminent arrival. She was extremely excited and very grateful.

In fact, the phone call couldn’t have gone any better. Until her nervous giggle began. “What are you laughing at?” I asked her. “Well, I may have recently mentioned to your father that I quite fancied a pizza oven for the log shed and he told me that he thought it was a ridiculous idea and that in no circumstances should I order one! So I’m delighted you’ve decided to order one as it means I’ll get my pizza oven after all!”

Oh well, I thought, at least 50 per cent of my parents will be happy.

I am actually writing this article just prior to Christmas to account for the festive schedule; so I do not yet know how the big Christmas morning reveal of the pizza oven will go down with my Dad – for whom Christmas Day is also his birthday. I will let you all know in my next article – if I live to tell the tale! I can only hope he enjoys turkey pizza.

By the time of my next article, of course, we will have waved goodbye to 2020 – a year to forget for many. Hopefully, next year, live events can return in some capacity and this column can go back to reviewing them rather than telling daft stories about pizza ovens.

Until then, I wish all readers a good new year when it comes and a safe, healthy, and happy 2021.