Dec 5th: The Christmas That Almost Never Was

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Back in 2013 when the UK experienced serious flooding from late December into January and (I think) February 2014,* my family and I awoke to a cold, unelectrified house on Christmas morning.

It wasn’t flooded, but local flooding of sorts had knocked out the power on our estate. Needless to say, this put something of a dampener on traditional Christmas cheer. As it happened, I wasn’t too fussed. I wrapped up in a jumper and my duvet and began reading the first volume in The Oxford History of the British Empire, The Origins of Empire.

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The dog walk across Merrow Downs wasn’t massively cold, but knowing that there was no toasty, festive house to return to probably made it feel colder. We showered at a family friends’. Truth be told, I can’t much else remember what we did that day. Fortunately, we weren’t due to eat Christmas dinner at home. For the first time in my twenty-some years, we ate out: Carlo’s Trattoria on Newland’s Corner. It is a family favourite and did not disappoint. I ate a lot of turkey and many a roast potato, and doubtless drank many a Peroni. Whether we went to the same family friends’ we always do on Christmas Day, I honestly can’t recall.

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What I do recall, however, is the screams of my mother and sister from the backseats of the taxi when it turned the corner at the end of our road and our house came into view – all lit up.

It was Christmas, after all.

* Don’t hold me to those dates.

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