The Spencers, a loving and close family from Mansfield, enjoy every last thing about Christmas, from hanging up the decorations to listenign to the same old festive hits on the radio, carol singing around their estate, telling the kids to hang their stockings by the fire on Christmas Eve and all that lovely Christmas fare on the day itself. But the one thing they love above all else is laying a massive, bowl-cracking turd on Boxing Day and swapping stories about it after.
Sadly, though, this will be the last Christmas for Carol Spencer's 85-year-old mother Muriel Wright, who has been diagnosed terminally ill. The family has vowed to make it one to remember by ensuring that Muriel manages to lay a mighty undersea cable every bit as foul and sulphurous as everyone else's. And, says Brian Spencer, a 59-year-old town planner, nothing will be left to chance.
'We've already got the sprouts in the shed but we're leaving them in a warm, damp corner so they go a bit soft,' he explained. 'Carol will cook the turkey half an hour extra to make it dryer so everyone will take in that much more air when they eat it. She's also doing baked gammon and sausages to clog us all up good and proper. Then, in the evening, it'll be curried leftovers with pickled onions to loosen the old sphincter for the morning. I won't be satisfied until next door's cat starts crying molten lava and the words Armitage Shanks are corroded clean off.'
Previous years at the Spencers have seen a plumber called out three times and refusing to return ever again, and, in 2001, the creation of a Site of Special Scientific Interest in the upstairs toilet. Yet the perfect collective turd has always somehow eluded them and, since the passing of Brian's hideously flatulent parents, the big day has often been a bit of an anti-climax.
'First our daughter Tania started dieting and would barely eat enough to fuel rabbit pellets, then my miserable sod of a brother went through a religious phase and didn't approve of everyone 'overindulging themselves',' said Brian. 'And last year, what a disaster, we invited Carol's sister who was going to the sales on Boxing Day and said she didn't want to be standing outside John Lewis at six in the morning with the turtle's head. Whatever happened to the spirit of Christmas?'
The task of creating the world's most pungent collective methane swamp, Brian admitted, is made somewhat easier by the lack of small children in the family to reduce their average brown trout size. However, he still has mixed feelings about this. 'I remember little Nigel coming up to me when he was five and saying "Daddy, I think we'll never be the world's worst Christmas poo-ers because Santa Claus must get through a billion mince pies on Christmas Eve and he'll still be cranking them out into the New Year". Bless...'