Sunday, 2 December 2012

Coming home - a Christmas story

Well, here we are, I can't believe that this is the last Story Telling Sunday 2 of 2012. I am so grateful to Sian for hosting this. I have told and so kept alive, so many stories through this year's telling and last year's that otherwise might have got forgotten.

Well, a long time agon, in 1985 in fact, I had been going out with Hugh for just over 6 months and he decided it was time for me to meet his parents! This had not happened before as although he and I were living in the same town (so he had met my parents on numerous occasions) his family lived (and still do) about 300 miles away in Cornwall. So, it was arranged that we would each spend Christmas with our respective families, but I would travel down to stay with Hugh and his family between Christmas and New Year.

So with much trepidation I embarked upon my journey! My parents drove me up to Paddington station where I go on the train - no changes, a straight trip, but it would take 4.5 hours. I was well muffled up as it was a cold winter (and I had been warned that the Old Rectory had no central heating and I would find it cold!). I had on my thick winter coat and a very fashionable (at the time) snood. For those who are not sure what this is, it is a knitted garment that covers your head and neck, a cross between a hat and a scarf. And this is where the problems started!

Me wearing said 'snood' on the beach later on in the visit!
Having had a very uneventful journey, enjoying myself watching the passing countryside, reading a book and eating the packed lunch I had with me, I arrived at Liskeard Station. Hugh knew which train I was coming in on and said that he would meet me on the station. As the train pulled in I put my coat and snood on, grabbed my case and got off the train. There were quite a few people getting off and so the platform was quite crowded. At that time I didn't wear my glasses all the time, although without them I was quite very shortsighted! The crowds cleared and I searched for Hugh - imagining in my romantic 19 year old mind a romantic reunion on the station platform. Err, where was he? No sign of him! And no one left on the platform! Well, I thought, perhaps he is waiting in the station office. So I climbed the stairs up to the office. No sign of him. I walked onto the bridge over the train line and looked back down to the platform in case we had missed each other. Again, no sign! By this time I was starting to get a bit lot worried. Had he stood me up? Was it going to be very embarrassing and I was going to have to get the train straight back home? Remember, this was in the times before mobile phones, so I had no easy way of contacting him. Instead, I went to the public phone box and called his parents to see if he had been in touch with them with a message for me. No, he hadn't, but he had left to collect me - phew! But where was he! I went for another walk to see if I could find him. No, and by now I was beginning to feel a bit tearful. I had never been this far away from home on my own before and I didn't like it! By this time I had been at the station for about 20 minutes.

All of a sudden there he was! He had been on the platform when the train arrived. He had  looked for me. He had not recognised me because of the blooming snood!! He then thought that I might have missed the train and he had called my parents to see if I had actually got on the train! They, and Hugh, were then worried, thinking that I must have either been attacked (!) or fallen asleep and would be ending up in Penzance (more likely!).  How we had mangaged to miss each other, as we had both used the one and only phonebox at the station I don't know! After a quick call home to let my parents know all was well, we jumped into Hugh's car and drove off to the Old Rectory. His parents were lovely and welcoming and I spent a lovely few days down there - and yes, it was freezing and I had never been so cold in all my life whilst still in a house!
New Year's Day lunch - me wearing the paper hat from the cracker and Hugh with the 'vampire' teeth out of his cracker!
I just have to let you know quickly about my second visit down there, which was in the February. Hugh and I drove down together this time and I was travelling with a migraine. Upon arrival into the kitchen (a farmhouse type kitchen where everyone always gathers) Hugh's Mum told me I looked awful. I explained the problem and how I felt sick. She ferreted in a cupboard and got a glass and put something in it and told me to drink it. I dutifully did so and then only just managed to make it to the sink where I vomited royally! I then felt much better! Hugh's Mum laughed and said it was a kill or cure remedy of hers! What was it? Bicarbonate of soda in warm water! Mum Gotch and I have been the best of friends ever since. I could really not have asked for a nicer, kinder and more loving Mother-in-Law.
Mother-in-law in 1985
She always provides a home made Christmas pudding for our main meal there 
over the Christmas period, even if it is New Year!

Don't forget that if you would like to read more stories, hop over to Sian's blog where you will find her inspiring story and links to many others.


Maria Ontiveros said...

Ah, the wonders of cell phones to avoid these sort of situations. So glad you have a good relationship with your inlaws.

Sian said...

Becky - how wonderful - we are storytelling about exactly the same year this time! !985 - what a year, eh? This has put such a smile on my face, I'm even smiling at out 1980's knitwear.

I have taken your link out and added it in again for you - I hope that's okay, but it didn't seem to be working properly. I was getting an error message when I tried to get to it, so I went in through Google Reader and picked up the link that way.

Many thanks for your support throughout the year - it's always much appreciated.

Jennie said...

Not sure the link is working properly still Becky - I got an error message too. Love your story about the snood - brought such a smile to my face.

Missus Wookie said...

Link not working for me either but I knew were you were ;)

1985 was a good year for knitwear, ski pants and snoods - which are coming back in fashion you know! Remember so well the worry of only public phoneboxes.

Alison said...

Isn't it odd now to think of a world without mobile phones? did we survive?!
Alison xx

Louise said...

ooo my ds would love your knitted pig jumper lol!

great story x

alexa said...

Oh I remember snoods - great invention and took away that cold gap between a scarf and a hat! Glad your adventure ended well and the going/coming home was a success all round. As one brought up in a house with no central heating you have my sympathies! How lovely that you get a pud :).

Ifa said...

LOL...the snood! Fancy that. Love seeing a photo of you from your younger days...sooo happy.

Ginger said...

Loved reading your story!! the second one is priceless and your MIL sounds wonderful :)

Anonymous said...

I can only imagine what you must have been thinking. I remember snoods - they were great for keeping you warm.