Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Most readers here will know that years ago I got a job as a Fairy helping Santa in a Grotto in Ealing.
I really loved the job. Apart from some of the children and parents most of the folk coming to see Santa were cheery and polite, and seeing the look of amazement on the little one's faces when they met Santa was heart-warming. It wasn't so heart-warming when they threw temper tantrums or ran away screaming, but it did give me a giggle now and again.
Another thing I loved about the job was that I got to dress up in a fabulous costume for the whole day. As well as the whole fairy ensemble I wore a very blonde, curly wig accented with glitter, and I made sure my make up was perfect without a speck of glitter out of place.
I didn't go to work on the bus in my attire but got changed in the offices of the shopping centre which meant that I had to walk from the offices, past a bar/restaurant, then past the library and down the stairs, and past some shops to get to the Grotto. Usually Santa would walk to the Grotto with me and our short walk would sometimes take a long time as nearly everyone that saw us waved and smiled and wanted to say hello.
Even when I was on my own people would wave and smile, especially those in the bar/restaurant as the front of the place was one huge window and seeing a fairy walking past wasn't an everyday occurrence for a lot of people.
After a while I became a bit of a local celebrity. I was interviewed by the local papers and also by a cassette newspaper for the blind, and some children came along just to meet the fairy.
Also, for some strange reason, a lot of grown up men came along wanting to meet the fairy as well, much to the amusement of Santa and the Pixie who worked with us.
As the bar/restaurant was right next to the offices, Santa and I would occasionally pop in for lunch wearing our work clothes and one of the staff there drew a portrait of us in chalks with a sign saying that the place was Santa and Fairy approved, and that led to even more attention whenever I walked past.
By the time Christmas Eve was drawing close I was in the habit of waving and smiling whenever I walked passed as I knew people would be waving and smiling as soon as they saw me.
But one day I made a right idiot of myself.
I'd finished work and had changed back into my regular jeans, jumper, warm coat and hat to cover my hair which was always a mess after wearing the wig all day and also remembered to take off my make up*.
As per usual I waved and smiled at the people in the bar/restaurant and was confused when none of them waved back, but instead stared at me as if I was a raving loony-tune.
I tried smiling and waving again to try and reassure them that I wasn't and it was only when I heard a small child ask it's mother why the funny lady was waving at them did I realize that I was off duty, and did indeed look like someone with a social problem.
Luckily, none of the staff recognized me without the outfit, or at least if they did, they didn't let on.
I made sure I only waved when I had my wings on after that.
Many moons ago I was Fairy!

*One day I forgot, was waiting for a train which was delayed yet again, and asked a station porter why the train was late for the fifth time that week and wondered why he was staring at me in astonishment. It was only when he said "You're all shiny and sparkly" did I remember.