Maybe there is hope

Scene: this afternoon, at the Greenwich Peninsula shopping complex in suburban south London.

Crotchety father in raised voice and perfect diction to whingeing 10-year-old son:

“I’m fucking telling you, lad, it’s too much fucking TV, too much fucking Playstation, and too little reading fucking books. Carry on like this and your brain will fill up with fucking mush and shit. I’m going to have words with your mother about this. And you’re telling me that I don’t fucking get it! Do what?”

On the downside, in these parts the Christmas spirit of peace and goodwill evaporates with the sales. In the lead-up to Christmas strangers will make eye contact and smile as they pass you in shop doorways. But from Boxing Day you might as well not exist at all.