Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Chapter Eighteen

I had a great day off the other day when they called me in for the overtime. I delivered for three hours in a little village just up the road from here and then I was summoned into Truro. For the first time since leaving Farnham I was given a mailvan. It was a real old bucket of bolts but it moved and that was the main thing.
I was next given a pile of packets and three bags of mail and pointed in the general direction of Perranporth. I took the precaution of getting myself an A to Z of Cornwall when we moved down here; so with that opened out on the dashboard; I headed off into the late afternoon.
Needless to say our hero neglected to take a torch so the last sixty houses were delivered in the dark. God knows what the customers thought as I blundered around the place like 'Blind Pew'. They must have thought an inept burglar was stumbling by. But I had a great time; my first eight hour day since movin g down here.
Back on my own round the following day a lovely couple at one of my delivery points gave me a xmas card and a tip. It was so nice because there had been no acknowledgement of me or my work from anybody else. I did wear my santa hat though and a lot of the children liked that. You are right of course...that is what Xmas is all about. Several youngsters have told me that;  'Father Christmas is coming'...'Do you see Father Christmas at your work?'...'Is that his hat?'
It's been fun.
My last day of the Xmas working period. Another brilliant Xmas Eve. I wouldn't miss working Xmas Eve for anything. I counted them up the other day and including the Christmas period I worked as a student just after I got slung out of school in 1971...this has been my 41st. Each and everyone of them has been special.
If anything has kept me working for Royal Mail; apart from the history of it, and the close group of friends I worked with; it has been the Christmasses.
Speaking of which...that same close group of friends had their usual Christmas meal but this time without me. If I could have been there I would... and I missed the evening more than I ever thought I would. I've said it before and I'll say it again..."That group of friends made it worth going to work in the morning... and I miss them.
Anyway...enough of that. They'll only take the mickey if they ever find out so I wont tell them. It's my little secret.
I dashed around my duty today because we are heading off to Surrey later and are staying up there for several days. Linda is off work today, so as usual, she organised everything without benefit of my input and experience. She says its quicker and easier to sort things out and get things done when I'm not around and getting under her feet. Such abuse from one so young; I pretend indifference.
As it turned out, by the time I got home, her car was packed with everything that had to be packed; the house was tidied and sorted out; I could find nothing that had not been dealt with; and my lunch and a glass of wine was sitting on the table.
Crushed, I sidled onto the chair; kissed the back of her hand; called her a smug git; and then tried to fend her off as I wolfed down sandwiches and slurped the wine. She retaliated by tickling me and taking the mickey. I lead a tough life you have no idea.
An hour later we were ready to leave...and that was when something strange happened. We locked up the house and walked over to the car; both of us turned to look back; and it was then that we realised the truth. Yes, of course we wanted to get up to Surrey to see our friends and family; yes, of course we had missed everybody more than we ever thought possible; yes, of course they all wanted us to come home; but that was it. Realisation dawned on us both as we turned and looked at each other; we weren't going home. This is home.
It was a sobering thought. I don't know when the moment had come when we realised the truth of it but we both knew it now.
Linda summed it up in the car as we pulled away from our drive,
"This is our home. We're not going home now; we're going away. We wont be going home until we leave next Thursday and head back here."
It made for a funny feeling.

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