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A difficult time of year


No, it's not been an easy Christmas.  I wanted to feel it, you know, all the joy and goodwill, but it's been hard work from start to end.  It always seems harder, doesn't it, when everyone else is out enjoying themselves and you're stuck in a dreary grind of endless details.  Like you're in a little gray world of your own.

You wouldn't believe how much paperwork there's been.  I'd put that application in from my parents' address months ago.  Never thought it would come to anything, but all of a sudden I got a call to say there's a council flat available down there.  I couldn't say no, could I?  Not in the circumstances.  Even though it only meant moving to the other end of the sodding country.  So we packed up quick as we could and stuffed the Astra as tight as a Christmas turkey, and then - then what happens?  "Oh I'm sorry sir, there's been an administrative mistake.  You can't move in until the end of January."  Fat lot of good that is, when the lease runs out on our old place in mid-December.

You'd think someone could have put us up, wouldn't you?  No, everyone was away or had family coming to stay.  Merry festive season and all that.  I'd found some cheap hotel, but when we got there they knew nothing about our reservation, and were very rude about it.  We ended up in the roughest B&B you can imagine.  I thought we'd have been better sleeping in the car, but it was a good thing we didn't, as it happened.

Why?  Well, you know all those horror stories of the husband having to deliver a baby on the way to the hospital?  We didn't even get that far.  Oh yes.  Right on the stinking carpet.  I was absolutely bloody terrified, I can tell you.  He came out all right, though. Mother and baby both doing well, as they say...

No, but there's more.  We'd just about got the mess mopped up, when someone started hammering the door half off its hinges.  Turned out to be the down-and-outs from the rooms upstairs.  I thought they'd come to complain, but you know, as soon as they saw the baby they were transfixed.  You should have seen it - these rough guys all huddled round cooing over a tiny bundle.  So I went off to make everyone a cuppa, but when I got back I couldn't even get into the room.  Three more lads had turned up, kind of Arabian looking, but what they were doing there God only knows.  They didn't seem to have much English.  To be honest I was so exhausted by that point I didn't much care.  I just wanted it all to be over so I could get some sleep.  They left us some pricey-looking presents, though.  Is that some kind of foreign thing?  Giving expensive gifts to complete strangers?

Yeah well, it's over now.  We moved into the flat yesterday.  Mary's been amazing through the whole thing, and Baby J's cute as can be, but I tell you something.  I hope I never have another Christmas like that one.

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