We have been reading Grimble and Grimble at Christmas, Clement Freud's outrageously funny stories about a boy named Grimble (just Grimble as his parents didn't think to give him another name), who is "about ten," (his age is not quite certain as his parents can't remember when his birthday might be.) In the first story his parents have gone off to Peru and left him to fend for himself with an oven full of sandwiches and a fridge full of tea. Not only is this great fun to read aloud to one's young offspring, it also creates the illusion that by comparison you are remarkably competent in the parenting department.

In Grimble at Christmas, the poor boy takes on the responsibility for Christmas when he fears his parents will prove inadequate to the task:

That night when Grimble was in bed he started to think about Christmas very seriously. Christmas was a holiday and a time for eating interesting food and giving presents and receiving presents--someone had told him it was more blessed to do one than the other, but he kept forgetting which. Now the reason why children expected their parents to do things for them at Christmas was because parents are better organized than children and parents have more money than children.

In Grimble's case this was only partly true. His parents were not nearly as well organized as he; they kept forgetting to get up in the morning and sometimes forgot to go to bed for days on end and they never knew what time it was.

We were very sorry to read of the death of Clement Freud and realize there will never be any more Grimble.

The original Grimble is very difficult to come by, so may I humbly suggest that you hasten over to McSweeney's where you can purchase a copy of Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things...That Aren't as Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creatures from the Sky, Parents Who Disappear in Peru, a Man Named Lars Farf, and One Other Story We Couldn't Quite Finish, So Maybe You Could Help Us Out which includes the original story.

You can read Neil Gaiman on Clement Freud and Grimble here.


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