Take me home
I’m on a train again. This time heading to Yorkshire for Christmas. King’s Cross was utter chaos this morning, but everybody seemed quite cheerful. Queues for Burger King snaked back miles yet even though only two tills were open, nobody complained and everyone smiled broadly. Ah, the Christmas effect. I’m doing the same journey again in January; it’ll be interesting to see if everyone’s still feeling sunny then.
I’m in first class once more. In total contrast with my Scottish trip, which was sedate and lovely and everything a train journey should be, this is like sharing a cage with some sleep-deprived tigers. Everybody seems to be on edge and the staff look quite menacing and pissed off. There’s a family of two parents and two children sitting diagonally to me. The offspring have whinged, griped and bickered for most of the journey. I’m not surprised: their parents have brought nary a book or magazine to entertain them. Have they ever met a child before? Children are always bored. I watched in wonder as the father allowed the child to wrest the spectacles from his face and poke him in the eye. The mother is in her thirties but has a voice like a 12-year-old, which seems very affected. Why do some people talk like this? I can barely listen to them, so I’m powering the loudest music I can find through my headphones.
I find it impossible to travel light, despite all my measures to curb my over-packing. I even sit down the night before I pack and plan out meticulously what I will wear each day to avoid the usual panic packing of throwing seventy T-shirts into my case at the last minute. I also downsized from a huge case the size of Namibia to a manageable one that would allow me to get on and off trains with relative ease. As a consequence, I now struggle through the station with four different bags, all stuffed to the brim. I sensibly ordered some presents from Amazon and had them sent to my mother’s ready for me to wrap in my arrival. Unfortunately I must have forgotten I had done this because now I have bought twice as much in London.
And now, a week of eating, drinking, dancing and, of course, present opening awaits. All internet access-free, which is kind of a relief. It’s my birthday tomorrow so I get to have a practice run of present opening. Those closest to me have long since learned not to pull any ‘this is a joint present for birthday and Christmas’ shit, thank goodness. You wouldn’t turn up to someone’s July birthday party with a Christmas card, would you? I will be thirty-two and I really don’t know how to feel about it or what to say about it, so I won’t say anything. Except for Happy Birthday to me- and Merry Christmas to you. x