Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm Dreaming Of A Grey Christmas

Two things I've had enough of; snow and the American Government, neither of which it seems I can do anything about.

There's good stuff to do with snow, I admit. Snowball fights, tobogganing and that whole Christmassy feeling. And that rather magical atmosphere, the way everything sounds muffled and more peaceful than ever.

On Saturday I walked into Kingston. It sounds a bit braver than it is, for I do actually pretty much live in the middle of Kingston anyhow. I spent a couple of minutes fighting bravely through a blizzard, feeling like Scott or even Ralph Fiennes as I tucked myself into the folds of my parka and let my almost brand new Timberlands do the walking.

Then, when I got to the Bridge, I saw that every car approaching it was getting stuck, unable to get the traction to climb the smallest of slopes and get onto the bridge. Without exception every single car was slipping, sliding and wheelspinning as they went nowhere.

The result? That Great British gung ho spirit poured out of passers by by the gallon. Every single one of us stopped and helped push a few cars before we went on our way. It's weird how us Brits do that in times of need. We, a term I'm hesitant about using, can be cold, unfriendly and downright miserable to each other for most of the time. But, give us a time of need, and we're the friendliest and most warm and helpful people around.

I pushed one car to freedom, along with about two or three other strangers. Then I moved along to the next car and did the same. Both drivers shouted their thanks and tooted their horns as they went on their way.

As the third car loomed in my vision I felt a bit uneasy. There was a whole queue of cars coming, all of which would suffer the same predicament. What was I to do? I might have spent the weekend pushing them. The Christmas shopping would have had to wait, none of the drivers would even have known that I'd been pushing cars for hours. So I legged it after just the two, feeling as though I'd done my good deed times two, so things were okay.

Driving into work on Monday morning was more treacherous and risky, more hazardous and filled with heart stopping moments than the last time I went to the Barefoot Colombo Pub Quiz. At one point my car told me, in its silent German tones, that the outside temperature was minus 9.5 degrees. Mentale!

Then there's the flights. One of my girls at work failed to fly to her home town of Prague because of the disruption, though she's now hoping to go on Thursday. I've been checking the Sri Lankan Airlines website regularly as I'm booked to depart on Boxing Day. Occasional snow showers, little bursts of the stuff have made me moan and groan and hope like buggery that it turns into grey and dull rain, the very grey and dull rain that I hate so much at any other time.

I can't wait to be destined for Serendib. To feel the plane take off and know that I'm on my way. Boarding and even being in my seat won't be enough. The radio waves are bounding with stories of people who've boarded then sat around for hours on end only to be told they have to go back into the airport and wait, or worse still sent home.

The only question is a book dilemma facing me. I've started reading Chinaman and have been forced to read that so old fashioned type of book, the sort that is printed on paper, with ink and whatnot, for it's not available on the Kindle. It took me a while I must admit. I'd thought, after reading and hearing so much about it, that it would grab me within the first forty two, maybe even forty, words. It just didn't, yet I ploughed on.

Then at about the one hundred page mark, it captured me. As I write this I'm waiting to rush home and find out what Wije has been up to for the last few hours and exactly where the story's going to lead us. The characters, the language and the Sri Lankan nuances, some of which I even understand, have got me spellbound.

The dilemma is about whether to take the book with me on the flight or to just take the Kindle and read one or some of the many others I'm currently involved with. It seems wrong to have an e book reader but to then carry a paperback with me, a hefty one at that.

Vut too doo?


T said...

The weather here right now is so very fabulous.

aufidius said...

Watch John Pilgers' latest doco RD!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

T - A bit rainy there today I hear!

Auf - Yes, I've been told to. And that's how C found out it had been deleted from Vimeo.

papertrails said...

Its always nice to hear about strangers helping out strangers:)
and the weather here is brilliant.

Anonymous said...

I say leave the book in london and just grab the kindle. then mathews will be waiting for you as you pine for the motherland.

David Blacker said...

On Sunday we drove to the beach. It was blazing hot in the sun, and cool and breezy in the shade. We ate lobster and drank Carlsberg and watched white girls in bikinis. In the background, Christmas carols were being played by a live reggae band. It felt exactly like Christmas :)

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Papertrails - thanks, but I try not to make a habit of it!!

Anon - Yes, that sounds like a plan. It defeats the purpose to have a kindle as well as take a real nook.

DB - It sounds very similar to West London.