On the first day of term, my son returns home minus his (new) school bag. ‘I am sure I left it in my locker, mum,’ he tells me. But I can guess from the way he averts his eyes that he’s not sure. I sigh knowing I’ll be on the phone to the Transport for London Lost Property Office on the morrow to find out if a school bag was handed in the previous day.
That night, I am getting out of the car, kids and shopping in tow, when I am greeted by the unlikely sight of a huge red bus turning into our narrow residential street. The driver, a young man sporting a ponytail jumps out, carrying a bag that looks suspiciously familiar. He squints at our door number and lifts a hand to knock, just as I intercept him. ‘Hi,’ he smiles, holding out the bag. ‘Did your son leave something in the bus this afternoon perhaps?’
The driver tells me that he had waited until his last trip of the day when the bus was empty of passengers and instead of hurrying to finish his shift, had taken a little detour to return a school bag a boy left on the bus on the first day of school, having looked up our address in my son’s notebooks.
And yesterday…The day before Christmas Eve. Blustery winds rattling the window panes, rain inciting the trees to rebellion. My children have friends round. They have just finished lunch when there is a knock on the door. I open it to a tall man with windblown hair and a rain spattered face. A Parcel Force man doing his rounds in the frantic rush up to Christmas. ‘Busy day?’ he asks, noticing the kids. And, ‘How many have you got?’ ‘Six,’ I laugh. ‘Here,’ he says, digging in his pocket and retrieving six packs of Haribos. ‘Merry Christmas.’
In Monsoon Memories, Shirin, a broken wreck of her former self comes to this cold country and is healed by the welcoming warmth of its people.
Isn’t it lovely? Ordinary people going out of their way to do extraordinary things and brighten lives. That is what Christmas is all about. Loving, Giving, Sharing.
Have a good one, you all, and I will be back in the New Year with news of Book 2.