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Christmas? Diary.

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Christmas? December 25th, 8:15am I have just woken up to my third consecutive 'breakfast' of cold beans from a can. It really is becoming very monotonous, following the same procedure every morning - waking up, fuelling myself with some form of uncooked food and washing, as best as I can, in the sea - all in preparation of another twelve hours of non-stop walking. Every day is as mundane as its predecessor. In fact, not until I opened my diary just now did I even remember what day it is today. It's Christmas day. Christmas day, and there is no frost, no snow; instead rays of scorching sunlight and a clear, blue sky. If Santa Claus were here he'd be surfing the waves in a pair of swimming trunks, and certainly not wrapping himself in three layers of clothing and a heavy fur coat. There is no tinsel, there are no fairy lights and there is not a tree in sight - decorated or otherwise. Instead of waking up to see the faces of my children glow as they empty their stockings, I find myself celebrating Christmas morning alone, eating uncooked baked beans out of a tin somewhere on the west coast of Australia. ...read more.


I wonder what they are thinking, what they are doing. My spirits lift as I picture Karen telling them; " Daddy's on an adventure" - I'm sure that's what she'll be saying. I think about her stories, imagining whether I am perhaps "At the North Pole, telling Santa exactly which presents my children deserve to receive this year," or if I'm "just away for a bit, battling with the cold wind and snow outside to be back in time for tea with my loved ones." I wish. If only they knew. Daddy's on an adventure all right, but one involving risks, loneliness, shame and much heartache - certainly nothing heroic or glamorous. Poor Karen, she'll be doing her best to comfort them, I know, but she'll be worried sick herself. I wish there was some way I could let her know I'm all right, so that she can, at least, enjoy today. Though thinking those thoughts had heightened my morale a little, I feel tears springing to my eyes as I hear their voices now. I want to go up to one of the families nearby, ask them where the nearest town is, and how to get there and find a telephone, so I can just speak to my family and wish them a 'Happy Christmas.' ...read more.


I can't remember ever having heard the telephone 'ring' on the other end for so long, panic flooded me again as I wondered if anyone was ever going to answer, then - "Hello?" Her tone was a worried one (had I been able to think straight, I'd have realised that night-time calls like the one she was receiving usually bring bad news) but I was so delighted to hear her voice that I couldn't put her mind at rest for a few seconds. "Karen?" I managed to croak, my voice breaking. "JIM?!!" she replied, half laughing, half crying; she obviously couldn't believe it any more than I could. I explained to her my circumstances as quickly as was possible, giving her the number of the family I was with, and then waited as she woke the children. I spoke to them in turn, wishing each a Happy Christmas and blowing kisses down the line. "How's the North Pole, Daddy?" asked my youngest. I was confused for a minute, and he continued - "Mummy says you're up there, talking to Santa and telling him how good we've all been! She says you'll be back soon!" As the tears rolled down my cheeks, I felt happier than I ever remember being. "That's right son," I whispered, laying down the receiver. " I will be." ...read more.

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