We were a little tired this morning after the previous night’s events, so we didn’t get up to peek at abandoned London, which is what London looks like on Christmas Day morning. Instead we each had a bowl of cereal before Sarah got stuck in making the trifle and I attempted to do laundry in the flat. Attempted, because the tiny all-in-on washer and dryer doesn’t do what I expect of it. No matter how small a load, everything comes out damp and hot and far from what I would call dry. What was supposed to be a quick task quickly became a reason to worry about the clock and the timing of our departure for Jack’s place.I think Sarah’s trifle looks great, but she worries about it. Working in an unfamiliar kitchen with unfamiliar equipment and materials always makes it a challenge to her, but she always does well. Even the plastic punchbowls we picked up at Sainsbury’s are doing a fine job in their roles as trifle bowls! We are each a little on edge as the clock clicks closer to the hired car arriving in front of the building at half two. It took a great deal of begging and negotiation on Jack’s to secure a car on Christmas Day for a reasonable rate of 25 quid. We have spotty reception in the flat and we did not want the driver to leave us behind.
The car arrived a few minutes early, but we got the call. We rushed to gather the food, gifts, coats and anything else we could before running to the lift and out to the road. The drive from Pimlico to Tooting went by our windows quickly as London was closed for the national holiday. We were soon at Jack’s doorstep. Ann showed us where to put our coats and we made our way into the front room to meet their “German friend”, Al. We had been expecting a person who spoke German or at least English with a German accent, but instead it was an old mate of Jack’s from university who happened to be of German decent.Ann brought Sarah a glass of red wine and a pint of bitter for me, along with some delicious canapes, and we sat down in front of the fireplace to get acquainted and reacquainted. Al put on his special winter mix of music which was made up of selections from Captain Beefheart, Del La Soul, Radiohead, Revered Horton Heat and even Snoop Dogg. Not your traditional holiday sounds!
When the turkey was ready, we gathered at the table, pulled crackers, donned hats, and made very merry over a lovely meal. In addition to the bird, there was bread salad, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and a tangy sauerkraut which our new German friend had brought.After the meal we retired to the front room again, loosened our trousers (well, I did!), and tried to play a game far too complicated for the conditions. We decided to have pudding and try another game (Scruples) and had more than a few laughs. I am dubbed a “man of high moral caliber” making it easier for people to get points simply by asking me their questions.
Drunk and happy, we reluctantly call the car hire service for our return trip before they close for the evening, and it arrives so quickly we barely have time to say proper goodbyes. In the backseat on the way back to the flat I follow along with Google Maps as we weave through the heart of the capital while we discuss the evening. To the taxi driver I mention the agreed upon fare of £25 and he fires back that it will be £37! I argue as politely as I can, but once we arrive at the flat I eventually bite through my lower lip and give exactly £37. The driver on the way to Tooting received a nice tip, but not this guy.
Exhausted, we brush our teeth, fall into bed and wish each other a happy Christmas.