It was meant to be a simple lunch at my parents’ house, but the complications began as soon as I invited the others to the table. First I noticed that my former colleague AT failed to turn up. Then the guest from Engineering clearly expected at least one glass of wine to be served with his bowl of soup. Just as I was about to reach for a bottle the phone rang with an instruction from my neighbour JS to look out of the window at the strange black and orange cloud formation that was heading straight for our building. The latter was of most concern, but thankfully it all dissolved into nothing before it reached us.
My next problem was the question of a pudding to follow the ‘main course’ of soup. I could see several Christmas cakes on the kitchen shelves. I needed to find my mother to ask her if I could offer a slice of Christmas cake as pudding for my guests. I set out to find her.
My hunt for my mother took me from deep into the Lake District on a cold winter’s day to London Heathrow airport. In the Lake District I watched wealthy tourists take joy rides in black stretch limousines and on high performance motorbikes on a semi-frozen lake. At London Heathrow I became lost in the labyrinth of London Underground passageways beneath the airport, then couldn’t get through the exit because I did not have a valid travel ticket.
When I was eventually reunited with my mother she confirmed that I could serve the Christmas cake. Then she whinged for ten minutes about her sister and family who were visiting from Sweden. She declared that she could happily go through the rest of her life without ever seeing them again.
Of course by this time the guests at my lunch party had left, so nobody had a chance to try the Christmas cake in the end.