The Rules Of Christmas

Rule One:
If you have to make a train journey, you’ll regret it.

Having to stand in the train vestibule all the way from London to Torquay before Christmas was bad enough, but on the way back a journey that should have taken five hours took eight.

Eight hours! With a rat in a carry case, too! I could have flown to America instead! Minus Tumble, of course. I’m not sure she’d have qualified as hand luggage.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the train home was so packed that it stopped twice to throw standing passengers off and onto coaches instead (luckily I had a seat). Then a passenger was taken ill and we spent 45 minutes waiting for an ambulance. Talk about cursed!

Towards the end of the journey that, apparently, would never end, an old man climbed on board and I offered my seat to him, on the condition that he watched Tumble for me while I stood. Bless him; he kept peering into her carry case to check she was still there! I’m also happy to say that my act of selflessness prompted the miserable guy sitting next to me to stand up and offer up his seat to the old man’s wife – geez, how hard is a bit of politeness nowadays?

Eventually I arrived home in Richmond and nearly froze to death on the five-minute walk from the train station to my house – the worst part of the entire trip. Damn, it’s cold! Britain’s covered in snow, although all we’ve had here is freezing rain. God bless central heating. Very Christmassy, though!

Rule Two:
You will argue with your family.

Christmas Day. Conversation with my mother had started drying up the night before. We struggled on until 3 o’clock and then she got drunk. Long story short: I spent the rest of Christmas at my friend Biddy’s house.

It’s true what they say – you can’t choose your family. Thankfully, you can choose your friends. I had a lovely time with Biddy and her fiance and would like to say thanks! Sorry I insulted The Goonies, though, Huey. I didn’t know it was your favourite film…

(But honestly: it’s just a bunch of kids screaming non-stop for hours!)

Rule Three:
You can’t leave work behind.

BBC Radio Wales called me up as I was still digesting my Christmas dinner (two days after eating it, mind you) to ask me if I wanted to do an interview about Doctor Who and the resurgence of science fiction on our screens.

“Sure,” I said. “What time?”

“It’ll be 7.50am tomorrow morning.”

It was too late to back out, so I had to get up at 7am in order to be awake enough to speak. And then they bumped me to the following day because their show filled up! So I did the interview the next day instead – oh well, two early mornings won’t kill me.

I wibbled on about K-9 going rusty and how cute David Tennant was as The Doctor. I quite enjoyed it, actually. I just hope Wales did. If anyone was awake at that time…

Rule Four:
If you have a cat, it will do this with your wrapping paper.

Here’s my mum’s puss, Polly. Altogether now… “Awwwww!”


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