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  • Writing this I'm beginning to feel tears tickle my eyes.

    My Father and I are eccentrics. Yet we are creatures of habits.
    We stick to the things we love.
    We are loyal.

    Besides one of us being a retired City Stock Broker with 40 years travelling and negotiating, and the the other being a 25 year old young woman who dapples with creative jobs and social antics; we have many overlaps. Many charms which link us.
    I know I've inherited them from him, and he recognises them in me.

    I have always been a daddy's girl, I've often had relatives remark, " Yes, you are such your Father's daughter".
    The first time this was uttered, which my father beamed at, was the christening of my God-mother's child.
    I was two years old.
    I did not wish to sit on the childrens' table at the reception. I did not want to draw with crayons and eat pizza squares.
    I scuffled over to the adult's table.
    Climbed on my dad's knee, nestling into the conversation, and persisted to drink champagne and eat the smoked salmon sandwiches.
    "Well, she's definitely her father's daughter."

    We like Pink Martini, haikus, Philip Larkin, Jancis Robinson, Jeeves and Wooster, any film with Hugh Grant, madeira, Paris, Miles Davis and Chet Baker, Japanese culture, old churches, Gordon's Wine Bar, Thomas Pink, wine, Sixpence None the Richer, dancing in public, coffee, Frank Sinatra and most of all, we love Christmas.

    Every year when Waitrose brings out the stollen on the shelves (usually early October). I get a phone call.
    "Miss Jones, mesas Waitrose has got the stollen in. Chirstmas is here. I've got mine, I hope you'll be getting yours?"
    That's how Christmas begins.

    We both love Christmas cds. We hate the generic screams of Slade.
    We have Annie Lennox's Christmas Cornucopia, Stacy Kent's Christmas Song, The Pogues, Joy to the World by Pink Martini, King's Choir Album.

    I play mine on loop from November the 6th. I know my father does the same. When I was about 13 he bought me the single of The Pogues' Fairytale of New York. Years I had listened to his.
    CDs then, were harder to come by, even more so with older songs.
    It was the best Christmas present ever. No exaggeration.
    It encompassed thought, memories we shared, and effort to go and find it.
    Expense doesn't matter when care has been put into the gift.

    Why am I writing all this about my Father, about Christmas?
    We both have a love for this season and yet I haven't spent the actual day with him since I was 6 years old.
    Since my parents divorced, it was decided Christmas with the mother - New Year's Eve with Dad.
    This worked for about 10 years.
    My father then got the poorer end of the deal, as when you are 16 and you have friends beckoning you to a party at Midnight, it's hard not to feel left out. My Father never forced us to see him at New Year's because he knew we would have invitations to elsewhere.

    So he saw us on the "between holiday days" - the 27th of December leading to New Years.
    But never the sparkles and delights of the day itself.

    Well, here comes the end of this story, and the happy beginning to the festive period.
    I will be spending Christmas day at my Father's house this year.
    The first time in 19 years.
    Deep in the countryside.
    Steeped in tradition.
    Where the mass service will be in Latin
    Frost glistening on the barrow.
    Stilton under a glass dome.
    The fire whistling gold and orange.
    There is 25 year old port waiting.
    And the bells will ring out for Christmas Day.
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