The Empire State Building is seen in the background as Santa revelers take part in the Annual SantaCon event held in New York City on 10 December. 2016.
via MSN Photo of the Day
‘I found out a couple of days later that they’d given my books to a Boys’ Brigade jumble sale.’
Photograph: Robert Harding/Alamy
by Carol Birch
Newly arrived in England after eight years in the south-west of Ireland, we dumped our stuff in Kennington, south London, and went to my then husband’s parents’ house for Christmas.
It was the late 1980s, and our marriage was heading for the rocks.
There’d been some idea that a complete change would do us good, though quite how the flat in Kennington was supposed to energise us I have no idea.
It was bleak and damp, three flights up on an estate with stinky stairwells and rubbish overflowing in the yards. Still, it was a change from cabin fever.
I was looking forward to furnishing it with my books, which had been stored in a large wardrobe at my in-law’s all the time we’d been away.
I never wanted to leave them there, but was persuaded to. The argument ran: we are going to live in a cowshed, a tent and a derelict cottage for the foreseeable future. It will be damp.
You don’t want your books getting ruined by damp. Let’s store them with my folks and bring them over later. So we did. And over the years a few found their way over, in dribs and drabs.
But every time I insisted on getting the lot, there was some reason or other why I couldn’t. It’s still too damp. They’re safer over there. Oh, they’re fine. My folks don’t mind – they’ve got loads of room.
There’s not enough space in the car. There’s just no time.
His mum said she thought they were in the shed. I found a cardboard box among the gardening tools and odds and ends.
Unless it had Tardis-like qualities, my books could not be there.
A giant and brilliant Christmas bauble lies in wait for you near the Park Pobedy Metro station in Moscow.
Photograph: TASS/Barcroft Image
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Roger Tooth and Mark Wohlwender.