A thin layer of white renders the land a frosty glitter. Warm breath floats into the black above. One by one the neighbours emerge from their warmth, and the ritual begins. Engines chug, fans blow, and slowly the ices drips away.
I love such mornings, with the crisp air pinching your cheeks, seeking out the gaps in your scarf, wheedling up coat sleeves. The morning commute made all the more glorious as you rise out of the town to the top of the valley, streetlights gone, the night sky sparkling under the moon glow.
Admittedly it can be a little dodgy on the way down the other side but that’s what traction control is for… yes?
And so we race towards Christmas.
I have two shops left to visit. I will need to do that on Friday afternoon/evening as although I’m off, we need four new tyres and they are getting fitted at 1.30pm.
Saturday and Sunday we are starting the “visits”, dropping off presents and so on. I’m off on Monday but will be finishing the wrapping and generally preparing for spending a couple of days at my parents.
Christmas Day we will see my Gran in the morning, maybe nip to my sister-in-laws to catch my brother-in-law there before heading to my parents for the afternoon, then back up to my sister-in-laws at night (in what is becoming tradition since my in-laws moved to Spain).
Boxing Day we’ll spend sometime with my parents and head home in the afternoon or evening.
27th we are going out with Susan and Ian, for a bite to eat, a little ten-pin bowling (presuming my knee can handle it) and a few shandies.
28th I have a night out with some ex-colleagues, and if past nights are anything to go by then we’ll finish up around 4am in a lake of tequila.
29th we are back through to Balloch to see my mates, Keith, Stuart & Alan, Ian, Bill and Fran, exchanging silly presents and seeing who can come up with the silliest cocktail.
30th is largely about getting home at some point and gathering our energies for…
Hogamanay! Back down to Susan and Ian, for they have the largest house (with a nice big pool table, fosball table and whatnot).
1st is usually a complete write-off, something to do with getting to bed at 6am or later (earlier?).
And no doubt on the 2nd day of 2008 we’ll be back through in Dumbarton to first foot our families.
After that I have five days to recover and do all the things I said I’d do over the festive period. And, to be frank, I’ll probably be looking forward to getting back to work for some sanity.
No doubt everyone else is the same, but it does perplex me why this time of year is so very busy. Why we feel the need to cram it all in to the few days holiday we have I’ll never know but, for all my moaning, I guess I do kind of enjoy reeling from one day to the next.
Let the festivities begin!
Ummmm but not until Friday…