Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Making the long, bleak freefall into Christmas

Are we running up to Christmas yet? Are we hurtling towards that happy point when the chest freezer with wings tips me back into England? If we are, that means I have a to-do list as long as both my arms, extending from UK to HK.

Christmas is becoming a multi-dimensional unsolvable problem looming larger with every passing minute. Soon I will be lying in my Hong Kong bed at night wild eyed and staring rigid in terror at the imaginings of what is shortly to pass. It will be like The Pit and the Pendulum retold with tinsel, a plastic Christmas tree and a vat of cooking sherry.

I am anticipating the worst. By 3am, the outlook will look very bleak indeed.

For a start, we will arrive back into a freezing snow-bound Britain and be unable to reach home for days. I am convinced of this, thanks to the many news photos I have seen in HK of dead vehicles and abandoned motorists littering the highways.

When we finally arrive home, having eaten nothing for days but snow and sparrows, we will discover our neighbour changed the locks to the shared front doors. On smashing our way in, we will discover the court summons. Along with the bust water pipe and non-functioning heating.

This is the one bright star in my anticipations of potential disaster. I am sure an engineer will be delighted to call and maintain our boiler, given there is less than 48 hours to go before the total closure of Britain.

But I will already be occupied. Within the first hour of arrival, Tiger will bundle me in the attic and demand that I emerge with last year's plastic Christmas tree that she can tastefully decorate with shuttlecocks and toilet rolls in the fine tradition of family fun. I will have not slept for 36 hours. On being thrust into the darkened eaves I will promptly curl up and fall asleep. If I am lucky, everyone will forget about me and leave me there. If I am unlucky, I will be dragged out amid demands for more tinsel and more toilet rolls. This will take place at 2am UK time because that is 10am HK, and a perfect time to start a craft activity before lunch.

Of course the time difference will work to my advantage. By 4am UK, I will be hitting Tesco to stock up on baking potatoes. Once I am inside an actual supermarket, I am almost certain to be overwhelmed at the availability of a packet of Dorset cereal at under the cost of a fiver and begin to softly cry. I can only hope the security staff will comfort me.

When the actual festivity of Christmas day is over - the cold day to come with no presents, no heating, and a bent tree festooned in toilet paper - I will be faced with the problem of stealing/hiring a working vehicle. Of course I have not overlooked the fact that the present non-working gritmobile (no tax, no MOT) is at the bottom of the garden locked in an ice sheet.

With time running out before a return to HK, I have then to fit in the drive east looking for the other family member in a village in the middle of nowhere. (Actually, I am looking forward to that bit.)

I haven't even raised the problems of the slight hurdle of arriving back in Britain dressed in flip flops and a pink cotton frock, the complete absence of presents for three eager people, and the worry I am already facing in trying to wrestle Tiger back on the plane for HK just as she has settled comfortably into her familiar homely surroundings.

While I contemplate all of this, grit's day might become a place to store more blurred photos, random jottings, and disconnected thoughts.

Like we have lost a library book which has sent HK central library into a tail spin, and I boiled a gecko alive in the kettle. By accident.

Apologies if you come here for anything.


sharon said...

Oh dear! I will hope that the cold in the UK will make a certain person glad to return to the warmth of HK.

Firebird said...

It's nice and mild (for December in the UK) right now, but by the end of the week the local forecast shows it back below freezing and they are saying we might have a white xmas. It's not impossible that you'll find your destination airport closed :-/ Not to add to the air of doom and gloom, but I'd suggest having plan B (xmas in HK) in place, just in case.

Danae said...

Whatever you do, wherever you do it, I hope you have a wonderful time. Merry Christmas, Grit, Gritlets and Digger.


Nora said...

Why in the world would you want to come to Britain for Christmas? What drives you to do it? All that travel has to be good for something.I don't see the sense in it. I would stay in Hong Kong if I were you. and come in the summer holidays.

Helen of SJ said...

I discovered your blog through the HK homeschool meetup group. Just want to tell you I really enjoy reading your blog. I hope your trip to the UK will be better than expected.

Grit said...

hi sharon, they are becoming unreasonably excited about snow. i am getting hourly metcheck updates on snow in london, central and east anglia. we are soon arriving at a situation where i will go into hiding if it doesn't snow on christmas day.

thanks for that, firebird! or we could have a christmas dumped by BA in an airport somewhere south of paris with a broken bus bound for heathrow sometime after tuesday. if i keep my expectations low, that way i can be delighted, yes?

thank you danae! happy christmas!

nora, you are right. two weeks in the uk while it closes down does not strike me as a good deal!

hi Helen! you are welcome here, and hope to meet you!