Early bird special: turkey for Christmas? You may already be too late to buy one

Name: Turkey.

Appearance: Bootiful!

Eh? You’re probably too young. It was an 80s thing. Chap named Bernard Matthews, with a mansion, in Norfolk.

Age: Nearly 500 years, in the UK. The engineer and landowner William Strickland is generally credited with bringing turkeys here from North America in 1526. Since then, they have gradually taken over from geese, peacocks, swans and boars’ heads as the meat of choice for the festive period.

Is this really about Christmas? It’s only September! Yes, but quick, you need to order yours now, it may already be too late.

But we haven’t even had summer yet! Turkey farms are running weeks ahead of schedule, as supermarkets and customers get their orders in super early.

Why? First, there’s the feared carbon dioxide shortage, caused by the closure of fertiliser plants which make CO2 as a by-product, caused by the energy crisis. What with the panic ordering associated with that, and warnings that supermarkets are two weeks away from running out of British meat, more people are getting their turkey orders in now.

Remind me why CO2 is important to the meat industry. It’s used to stun poultry as well as pigs before slaughter and also in the packaging process.

Didn’t Kwasi Kwarteng say CO2 was now fixed? He struck a deal to keep the fertiliser factories in production and Boris Johnson declared that “Christmas is on”.

Chilling words for the turkeys presumably? Sensible ones aren’t voters for it, traditionally.

Any other reasons for the turkey rush? A lack of seasonal migrant workers.

Presumably the turkeys did vote for Brexit then. No comment.

That lorry driver crisis is probably not helping either is it? Exactly – it’s a perfect storm to almost literally knock the stuffing out of your festive feast.

Hang on, don’t I remember Johnson saying last year that 2021 was going to be a “two-turkey Christmas”? He did, but now he’s joking that people can defrost last year’s bird instead.

That doesn’t sound like our prime minister, to say one thing, then completely renege on it. Indeed. And his comments might give rise to some further uncomfortable questions.

Such as? Will the family home even be warm enough at Christmas to defrost last year’s bird. And, if so, will there be any electricity or gas to cook it? Will Christmas in fact be cancelled again after all?

Do say: “Bah, bloody humbug!”

Don’t say (looking at last year’s lockdown cockapoo): “I say a dog is for Christmas, not for life. We’ll use the same Jamie recipe, extra seasoning, don’t tell the kids …”