The Festive Period part II

To continue from below, I also stayed late every evening in the 10 days before Christmas, in order to catch people coming home from an alcoholic night out – it’s amazing how a few drinks can make someone more likely to be generous! By Christmas Eve I had worked long, cold, damp hours and I decided to leave about 5pm. It was really quiet by then anyway; most people get to leave work early and I couldn’t see the point in staying with so few passersby.
In the end I had just enough money to have Christmas and the next three weeks off as I had wanted, although I would have to be very careful with my money. I spent the three weeks very quietly, sleeping a lot at first, then reading and listening to music and cooking cheap but favourite meals. I am still staying in a friend’s flat and it is a real luxury to have heating and constant hot water, along with a working kitchen. Then a few days after Christmas my mum told me that my granddad was moving into an old people’s home near her home in Worthing and that she needed help to clear out his flat at Three Bridges. So on a few occasions in the last two weeks I got an early train down to Crawley and helped to box stuff, telephone charity shops, arrange collections by the local British Heart Foundation people and generally make myself useful (and also stop my mum from freaking out at the sheer scale of the job!). I brought home my granddad’s personal computer that he built himself – at the age of 84! – and it is an amazingly fast and powerful setup and a joy to use. The three weeks went far too fast, but then time off always does, doesn’t it? And then my first week back on the bridge, the temperature rarely got above a few degrees so I had to acclimatise rather quickly. Of course, I’m now dreaming of next year’s break!!

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