Days spent – 5 days (24 December 2016 to 29 December 2016)
Places visited – Home
Books read – Shantaram (unfinished)
Things done – Not a lot!
Highlight(s) – Surprise!
Lowlight(s) – Leaving again
Cost – £101.97 (£20.39 per day)
Firstly, a note on cost, it isn’t really that cheap but I get free food and accommodation at home!
When I left in June I knew I would always at least consider going home for Christmas. Come late October I’m in China and thinking that if I’m going to do it I need to start looking at flights, they won’t be cheap over Christmas. I found one for four hundred pounds from Mumbai and booked it that evening, it seemed reasonable value. That’s that sorted, I’m not going to tell anyone, now I just have to keep it a secret for another two months!
The problem with doing this is that it then plays on your mind. I got back from Everest Base Camp on December 3rd and after that I was ready to go home really. I just can’t wait to surprise everyone. In Kathmandu, Delhi and Jaipur I don’t do much, I’m just waiting to go home.
Christmas Eve rocks up and I’m spending this one travelling vast distances across the planet. I’m awake at four in the morning which is early, but even earlier considering at the time it’s still Christmas Eve Eve at home! The flight is fine if a little long.
I get off the plane and go straight to the Underground. Can I call it that now? I don’t have to use words like Metro and Subway. Occasionally I say Tube, just to really flummox everyone! On the Underground the announcements are in English, with an English accent and everything! It sounds weird… I head to Waterloo but miss the train I had pre-booked as my flight was slightly late. I go to the counter to see if I can change it. “Did you get a note from the pilot?” the guy asks. Ah, I’ve missed the British sense of humour. He stamps my ticket and on I go. Onwards to Honiton…
As I’m on a later train it gets dumpsy on the way, but not before I’ve seen the rolling green hills of home. The trains apparently have wifi now. They’re not on time but that doesn’t matter, we have wifi! Cars are driving on the right side of the road, I mean the wrong side of the road, I mean the right… the wrong… The left, they’re driving on the left.
I walk out of the station with the intention of taking a taxi home but there aren’t any waiting. That means I have to walk home to maintain the surprise, it’s over two miles and quite uphill, about fifty minutes, damn. I get to the drive and decide to film my arrival and I narrate it. Is my accent really that English?! Unfortunately, it’s dark which is a little annoying. I don’t really know whether to just walk in or knock on the door. I’ve thought about it a lot on the way back and I still don’t know. Upon my arrival I’m greeted by a doorbell that I didn’t know existed, that wasn’t there when I left. I walk in, my parents are quite surprised to see me…
Dad will be annoyed at me putting that photo online but it’s ok because he doesn’t read these anymore anyway! As I push the door open I nearly hit Dad with it. Only my parents could be trying to put down a carpet at 6pm on Christmas Eve! After popping in to see the bro I go to bed, I’ve been up for over twenty-four hours now.
Morning, Merry Christmas! I’m up early enough to go with Dad to feed the pheasants and the ducks which was nice. Many thanks go to Shane and Holly for letting me have Christmas Dinner at very short notice! Many thanks also go everyone else who tried to fatten me up over this period! I spend the rest of my time at home seeing people including Tom, we have a few beers and play pool, I won six to five, phew close one! Before I know it, I’m flying back to India…
Strawbs – written 19 March 2017, published 24 March 2017