A Unique Christmas Holiday

Posted on December 27, 2012

Well, that’s Christmas done with and from a personal view it was one that was rather blighted by spiteful colds to me and those in my direct company. Annoyingly, a heavy cold in late December is now as traditional for me as the celebration of the birth of the big man himself.

It didn’t stop the fun and games on a wholesale basis however and on Christmas day I cleared my nose and mustered the enthusiasm to drive to North London, a somewhat bizarre journey featuring miles of empty tarmac where the only other cars on the road were partaking in suicide missions. It was like a Sci-Fi film where a virus wipes out everyone except a select few who have never taken to the wheel of a car before.

Now, please don’t get me wrong, I am no advanced driver as I am too easily distracted by iPods, text messages and phone calls, not to mention self-righteous Radio 5 radio presenters playing the peoples hero role by cutting off racists in mid-sentence after starting a show called “Immigration, what are YOUR thoughts?”

“Good morning Frank Garnett, you’re a taxi driver from Bexley Heath and you’re through to Victoria Derbyshire on Radio 5 live…”

“Er yis, fank you Victorwia, gwate show as usual…wight, I’ll be bwief…this cannntweee was a gween and pleasant land before the darkies moved in…in 1968 when Enoch Pow……


“Goodness me, some people…My apologies to our listeners for that outrage…. Baroness Token from Islington on line 3, what are your thoughts?”

If you are doing radio shows about subjects like immigration,  I’m sorry but you have to hear out the nutters as well, otherwise don’t do it at all.

Sorry, I digressed, back to the motorways. Like I said, I am no great driver but a basic calculation of the amount of hours I have spent driving on motorways in my life is probably quite a simple one to make, but I won’t, as it may result in me hanging from my living room ceiling rose. However, along with the majority of daily commuters, what these thousands of hours of practice have done is teach me the basics of motorway law.

However, it is a law book that needs tossing over the shoulder on Christmas Day as you are surrounded by people who have not been on or near a motorway for at least 365 days. It is one of the wonders of the modern world that on a working day with tens of thousands of people using the motorway it often works like some kind of poetry, an unpublished rule book of camaraderie featuring flashing headlights, indicators, waves and thumbs up to fellow passengers. Yet with no-one on it, it is potential chaos.

On Christmas day, I had more near misses than a year of Monday mornings because of people not knowing the basic laws of lane use. This included a classic pincer movement by two cars doing 70 mph with one on the inside lane and the other on the outside overtaking lane leaving the middle overtaking lane as an open space. At some point during this you just know you are going to break the written law and undertake the car on the outside lane; I did this just as the driver got bored and I only narrowly avoided a T-boned re-enactment of a banger racing event. Technically my fault I suppose.

Deadly emptiness: Beware the dangers of on Christmas Day motorways

On another occasion near Watford somewhere, I had to move five lanes to pass someone who was gormlessly hypnotised by lane four, it was incredible stuff to witness. There was loads of other events I won’t bore you with but what I learnt was that commuter and bank holiday motorway driving are two totally different animals. You have really got to concentrate on what  you are doing or you could end up in the unique position of looking at the world upside down as a fireman frantically tries to cut you out of your predicament without piercing your fuel pipe or jugular vein…or both.

Anyway, bravely, stoically, some might say heroically, I got to my destination and had the unique experience of spending my Christmas day on a tour of the houses of various members of the North London Jewish community. From what I can gather, rather than being the non-believers many perceive them to be, Jews generally (but not exclusively) believe that Jesus existed, but they actively discourage the worship of fellow human beings, even those revered in Judaism. I’m no Jew, but that seems to make sense to me, worshiping Gods, Queens, Kings and X Factor winners never has been my thing… But hey, it is probably best to avoid the opinion of a forty-something hypocritical atheist with plastic Christmas tree in his living room.

What I will say is that all the people I spoke with were welcoming and more interested in whom I was rather than any pointless and boring religious debate. In fact, during a whole day of meeting various children, parents and grandparents, the only bell end I came across (a fantasist with more preposterous tales than Ken Mackenzie) just happened to be the only other non-Jew.

Funnily enough…I am sure I heard him on Radio 5 the other day…

The Preposterous Tales of Ken Mackenzie: I need little encouragement to post this track

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