Thursday, December 23, 2004


A brief look-in before setting off for London...

Our daughter phoned last night to say she'll meet us at King's Cross. That's going to mean almost two hours of driving for her, and will save us from a very awkward hour of struggle with the suburban line. What have we done to deserve such a daughter? Mothers of four who will be cooking Christmas dinner for 12 or 15 people, have plenty to do on December 23.

I heard yesterday from my sister. She has sent some pewter which belonged to our late father, to my daughter in Thessaloniki. It seems to have arrived in Greece, but there is a problem getting it through customs. Our son-in-law is planning to go down to the office with his eldest son, Archie -- Mungo and Fergus' brother. Archie is fluent in Greek and brave as a lion. It should be an interesting encounter.

We spent Christmas in Thessaloniki with them two years ago. When we were leaving church on Christmas day, there was a beggar woman sitting on the step. Archie left our party and went back to her and said something which she found very funny. None of the rest of us speak Greek as well as he does, so we asked what he had said. "You have only one tooth", was the answer.

One of our Christmas cards last year came with the news that the writer's grandson could speak Greek. He lives on Cyprus. I am afraid I wrote back to say that we had a couple of grandchildren who could do that, too, and a couple of others who were fluent in Mandarin. It was wicked of me, but irresistable. This year the card from that source contains no news whatsoever. Serves me right.

The Christmas card flood has brought a certain amount of news of death and diagnoses. I feel ashamed to grumble so about fear-of-the-dark, when we are all alive and well.

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