Friday, November 03, 2006

Ho ho ho!

Seasons have a habit of changing at an alarming pace in this country. Two weeks ago I was out in the mountains, enjoying the sunshine and fresh air (in contrast with the polluted towns here), drinking beer and barbecuing sausages in a T-shirt. Today I woke up to 2 inches of snow. Unable to resist a cliché I stuck the Sisters of Mercy on my iPod and walked through the bleak, wintry landscape up to the local gym (ok, going to the gym might not be very goth, but I was wearing a black tracksuit). Spring and autumn tend to be very fleeting affairs in this part of the world, the Czech climate doesn’t like to mess with Mr. Inbetween. This year the temperature has rampaged between -25 (last two weeks in January) and +35 (second half of June and most of July). You have to buy long thermometers here.

With the fall of snow, plus the clocks going back (dark at half past four here now) and yes, the first adverts springing up in the supermarkets (fucking capitalism!), it seems that I’ve been compelled to contemplate the concept of Christmas this week. I can’t help it – I love Christmas, or at least I think I do. This year as always I’ll be coming back to the UK to see family and friends, laze around, eat rich food and get agreeably drunk during the daytime. It might be because I live in another country that I always look forward to Christmas so much, since I catch up with people I don’t get the chance to see any other time, and frenetically try to compress six months to a year’s worth of socialising into two weeks. In addition it is no doubt a case of it being rather better to travel hopefully than to arrive – Christmas is a time of festivity in an otherwise fairly grim season, and if we didn’t have that to look forward to then I suspect suicide rates might rocket. Whereas I know the reality will be that of suppressing inner rage, biting one’s lip and trying not to bicker with in-laws, children’s new toys getting broken, having to laugh at sickeningly unfunny banter foist upon us by vexatious, penis-brained oafs bullying us into being jolly, wincing every time Slade come on the jukebox (and I actually like Slade), pretending to be pleased to see people you always hated from school, watching helplessly as the family gradually melts down into a seething cauldron of stress and spending most of the day feeling bloated, hung over and doing abominably noxious farts.

But the chirpy, inane (and probably thoroughly irritating, I admit, sorry) optimist in me wins every time. I can hardly wait. And I’ll probably spend most of January scraping the egg off my face.


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