Friday, December 16, 2011
1981: A season's wish will come true
The doorbell rang., waking me out of my slumber. I glanced at the digital alarm clock. It was before 7am on the eve of Christmas Eve. From downstairs I could hear the lilting, Christmassy sounds of Jon & Vangelis' I'll Find My Home, a big hit and a Radio 2 staple at the time.
Under my duvet I was warm and cosy. It was still dark outside. But I was home with the family for the first time since I'd come back from Bahrain on my own to live with a schoolfriend and his family while everyone else stayed behind forging their new life in the Middle East. I'd had a miserable time and I'd missed them. It was my first long-term separation from the family and it had been hard. There was nothing like being at home and were all together again for Christmas.
At the door it was Hazel, the postwoman on whose route our old house was. She'd kept in touch after we'd moved, and because my dad worked in publishing sought his advice over a novel she proposed to write about the people she'd grown to know on her round and fictionalised accounts of their lives. She sent weekly installments over to Bahrain and we all played let's identify our friends and neighbours, which, despite giving everyone different names wasn't hard. It was total tosh but she had a good heart and dad was gentle.
And here she was, hearing they were back and popping in for a dawn Christmas cuppa to the strains of Jon & Vangelis. Mum and dad were thrilled to see her.
I turned over and drifted back to sleep, lulled by the opening bars of Elkie Brooks' Fool If You Think It's Over.
I don't think I've ever felt so safe in my life.