NORBERT'S GINGERBREAD 
Combining sun and sugar in the best of ways for the holidays

"Norbert! Open up! I know you're in there! You have a visitor, Norbert...."  
Gill reached his hand through the window and unlatched the door from the inside. Then he slowly opened it.  
"Norbert...AW NORBERT!" shrieked Gill, reeling back.  
There in the middle of the room turned a scrawny, old man with a scraggly goatee. He was completely naked, except for a pair of goggles on his eyes, sandals on his feet and puffy oven mitts on his hands. He was holding a pair of salad tongs.  
"Gird your loins, man! You have company!" said Gill. He picked up a nearby pair of paisley swim shorts and threw them at Norbert, while David stared at the happy hula dancer that smiled from his welcome mat.  
"And what right do you have, barging in here without welcome, you old Gill-pickle? I have a right to report you!" said Norbert, hopping about as he struggled to fit the swim shorts over his sunflower flip-flops. "A man can't even catch a little breeze for his privates in the comfort of his own home these days, without someone causing a right near commotion."  
Norbert pulled off his mitts and goggles and flung them on a cluttered workbench....He grabbed a green glass bottle off a nearby shelf and took a swig.  
"So why did you go inviting this youngster into my area?" asked Norbert, pointing the bottle's nose at Gill. "He could be a dangerous fugitive."  
"Now Norbert, it's not often you get visitors, and it would do you good to be more sociable. But that's not why I'm here."

Ah Norbert Bransby, the eccentric veteran from King's Beach and one of my favourite characters from The Merman's Mark. As we move into a sweltering Christmas season on the eve of an El NiƱo-ridden South African summer, it seemed fitting to turn Norbert's haphazard surf shack into this year's Christmas gingerbread. Feel free to grab your surfboards and swim gear and follow along. It is time to build.


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