Word of the Day short story competition winner announcement
The OxfordWords blog is pleased to announce that Christian Boatswain has won our competition to include every Word of the Day from November in a story and secured a one-year gratis Gold subscription to OxfordDictionaries.com, as well as £50 worth of OUP books.
Now, with so many delightful and creative entries, picking a winner wasn’t an easy task. However, in the end it was Christian’s story that convinced us the most. You can read it below:
Awaking reluctantly from his slumber, little Johnny opened his eyes with a sense of foreboding. It was Christmas Day: Johnny’s most loathed day of the year. Unlike other boys his age, Johnny dreaded the katzenjammer that was Christmas. While his friends were positively peart at the prospect of Christmas, Johnny instead looked forward to going back to school, when he could savour Christmas vicariously through his classmates’ tales of tearing through coveted presents and gorging on chocolates.
For Christmas Day in the Baxter household revolved around dinner for Johnny’s extended family of cranks, eccentrics, malcontents and oddballs. Nothing could assuage Johnny’s disconcerting sense of doom at what was to come. To Johnny, it was paramount that this miserable masquerade of merrymaking be brought to a precipitate end.
Johnny’s Christmas Day began, not with the spilling-out of presents from the stocking he had expectantly hung on Christmas Eve, but with preparing for the onslaught of visitors about to descend. This duty consisted of inosculating the hefty leaves of the dining table so that it could seat, albeit uncomfortably, a vigesimal assembly of Baxters. After that, there was just time to set the table before the doorbell chimed, announcing the arrival of the first guest.
And so it was that Johnny found himself squeezed next to Aunts Jemima and Patricia, who, contrary to initial appearances, were not bicephalous, but identical twins, in appearance, if not in nature. Whilst Jemima was abstemious, the ullage of Patricia’s sherry glass never teetered more than a few millimetres. Opposite Johnny, sporting fluorescent hoodie and backwards baseball cap, sat the adultescent Uncle Roger. Next to him, sat proudly in a high chair, was Roger’s indocile son, Cuthbert, who was gleefully flinging peas across the table at Johnny.
Unable to join them at the table because of his gout, Great Grandfather Horatio sat in an armchair beneath the oversized boscage of the Christmas tree. Unfailingly unsociable, Horatio was engrossed in a newspaper, mumbling about the tumbling valuta of the rouble. At the opposite end of the table sat Johnny’s effulgent half-cousin, Alice. Next to her was the ingratiating Ralph, who was attempting to beguile Alice with anecdotes of his prepotent derring-do as a whitesmith.
Also at the dinner was the hapless Father Reynolds, still in his sacerdotal robes, betwixt the verbose Uncle Vernon and the proudly simon-pure Grandfather Herbert, who was unabashedly proclaiming he’d rather go on a jaunt in war-torn Syria than endure this ungainly gathering.
At this point, as Johnny’s Mother, Beryl, emerged from the kitchen wielding a scrawny, inanimate goose, the assembled guests pulled their kitsch Christmas crackers. It was now or never, bethought Johnny, as his villainous plan reached its denouement. A jerk on unseen string brought the Christmas tree crashing down among the gathered guests, who looked on agog as the charred gosling was propelled through the window into astrogation, while the delectable Alice was breathlessly thrown into Johnny’s outstretched arms. “Peccavi”, whispered Johnny into Alice’s ear, revealing his seductive Sprachgefühl.
Thank you very much to all participants, and congratulations to Christian!
Find out more about our Word of the Day service and sign up to receive the words via email, or on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter here.