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.
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.
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.